Making justice more accessible through technology

Written by Jay Bangle, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, TPXimpact

Access to our legal systems, a fair trial and justice is something that every citizen has a right to. However, due to factors ranging from a large backlog of cases to the cost of living crisis, gaining this access is becoming increasingly difficult.

These challenges haven’t gone unnoticed and were a key focus at the recent Civil Justice Council’s 12th National Forum. I had the pleasure of being a part of this forum and sharing how technology can play a key role in reducing the barriers to access and improving efficiencies in the justice system. 


Creating the ‘digital inside’

Improving access to the justice system through digital solutions must focus on three crucial areas. Our first goals need to be streamlining organisational workflows, removing the reliance on paper-based methods, and automating tasks within both our legal institutions and the sector more broadly. While digitisation and automation have been underway in the sector since the 1990s, there are still a range of legacy processes in place and room for further advances. 

Building this ‘digital inside’ and embracing more technological innovation could produce more financial savings for our justice system, while at the same time improving access. For example, automating and digitising certain processes, like administrative tasks, will allow those in the legal system to focus more of their time on tackling issues like the backlog. At the same time, digital solutions can produce vast amounts of data and insights, which can be used to improve decision-making and where resources are allocated, helping improve internal processes.


Enhancing the digital journey

The next area of focus is around refining the digital journey and improving the services offered by our legal institutions for the people who need to use them. Transitioning more processes online, such as accessing or completing court services, has the potential to streamline the entire procedure while making services more user-friendly and comprehensible for regular people. It will empower individuals to oversee their cases autonomously, ensuring swift progression and real-time monitoring of developments.

Improving the digital journey can also make it easier and less restrictive for people to access justice. For example, having virtual hearings will help those who need to balance work or childcare as it removes much of the stress and potential financial costs that can come with having to change plans to attend a hearing in person.


Embracing the AI revolution

Lastly, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) presents a hugely significant opportunity for us to simplify and streamline our legal system for everyone. 

Currently, we face a shortage of skilled legal staff, especially as costs rise and budgets tighten. To address this, tools like generative AI (GenAI) can handle tasks such as offering some legal advice or assisting with creating or completing legal applications. Embracing these tools would greatly enhance efficiency while also easing the burden on departments where resources are limited.

Additionally, filling out structured online forms can be challenging for people who need to express their situation accurately. If individuals could explain their issues in their own words to an AI assistant, which could then analyse the information and provide guidance, it would massively help them complete the legal administrative process, quickening their cases and ensuring justice is served.

However, it’s important to note that AI also brings its own set of challenges. I’ve explained how these platforms would increase accessibility to the justice system. This should be seen as a positive thing, but it could also potentially lead to a surge in demand for services. Once implemented, government departments and the broader legal system must be prepared to meet this unlocked demand by promptly adopting the appropriate, wider technologies that can help manage this influx, some of which I’ve covered here. 

Access to justice is a fundamental right that every person deserves and despite the challenges which have impacted both individuals and institutions, we must work to ensure people have access to the services they require. By embracing technology and digital innovation, we can establish a justice system that better caters to the needs of everyone, even during challenging times.

Read More AI & Data

Comments are closed.