Research and Policy
Following the “Transforming our justice system” White Paper in September 2016, plans for a new Online Court are underway. HMCTS’ reform programme aims to streamline a number of different services online and provide more accessible ways for non-lawyers to commence and respond to claims. Moving proceedings online will especially impact the civil courts, where the number of litigants in person has risen sharply.
UKAJI Research Roadmap – where have we been and where do we need to go with research on administrative justice?
Since starting work nearly three years ago, UKAJI’s primary tasks have been to bring together researchers, research users, policy makers, practitioners, and others to encourage more empirically based research into administrative justice and to design an agenda for future research. This blog post summarises their consultation paper, which results from that engagement. Responses to the consultation will contribute to the research roadmap they will propose for future research needs in administrative justice.
(Author: Margaret Doyle, Senior Research Fellow, UK Administrative Justice Institute) ‘What is administrative justice?’ is one of the pages on UKAJI’s website most viewed by visitors. Does this suggest that readers don’t know what it means, or is it simply difficult to define?
Update from TechCrunch on the latest development of DoNotPay which includes a brief video showing how it works.
This fast-paced session provides tips about free and low-cost tools, apps and software. The presentation is a video from NTAP, an organisation in the US which helps the non profit sector improve client services through effective and innovative use of technology.
A new report from The Law Society, four years after LASPO, which includes 25 recommendations to government.
Blog from Penelope Gibbs on observing a virtual court in which defendants all appear on video and everyone else is in the courtroom.
James Sandbach looks at the trend in money claims, based on data compiled for the Ministry of Justice by the Registry Trust
Author: James Sandbach, Director of Policy and External Affairs, LawWorks. "About a month ago I was privileged to have a sneak preview of the “Beta” sites that HMCTS officials have been working as part of the Court modernisation programme to digitise much of the court process and administration. Justice Minister Oliver Heald brought officials along to the House of Commons for a private briefing of MPs, as the Prisons and Courts Bill was about to be launched in Parliament. Despite having been involved in much of the discussion about “Online Courts” since the Briggs Review and the subsequent Ministry of Justice paper on “Transforming our Justice System,” I wasn’t quite clear what to expect, but after the preliminaries about customer journeys and the political words about improving the justice system for everyone, we finally saw a demonstration of what the new processes will look like.
The Law Society has recently produced new tools designed to help law firms and in-house teams develop the capacity and strategic presence of pro bono work to improve access to justice and meet unmet legal needs. The Law Society launched it’s Pro Bono Charter in November 2016. The Charter is a statement of commitment that firms and in-house teams can endorse and is a public commitment to support pro bono. It offers a great opportunity to highlight your law firm or organisation’s pro bono work. By signing the Statement of Commitment, your law firm or organisation is demonstrating its commitment to improving access to justice for those individuals and organisations who have legal needs and are ineligible for legal aid and unable to afford to pay for legal services.
HMCTS delivered a useful presentation at a recent LawWorks roundtable event. The 10 minute talk provided an quick overview of the Court Modernisation Programme and other aspects of Change Programme. Here is the presentation.
Communication in Family Court: Financial Remedy Proceedings from the Perspective of Litigants in Person
Network member, Dr Tatiana Tkacukova from the School of English at Birmingham City University, has shared with us the findings of her research into communication in the family court. Her paper looks at the obstacles LiPs experience during financial remedy proceedings, a process original designed by legal professionals for legal professionals. She evaluates different options for empowering lay people involved in legal proceedings and argues for the need to provide more specific support for different stages of family proceedings.
OpenJustice (hosted by OpenDemocracy) have recently published a series of articles focusing on the issues affecting people’s ability to seek a remedy through the courts: to stand up to bullies and protect themselves against the powerful. The series looks at why access to justice matters, the impact that the legal aid cuts have had and possible solutions to the access to justice crisis.
This blog from HMCTS provides regular updates about news and upcoming changes to their services. Find out more about how each change is progressing and how it will affect you.
PSU regularly conduct small-scale ‘spot surveys’ of PSU clients across our network on topical issues. In July 2016, they conducted a survey to gather information to help inform proposals for online courts. To consolidate the findings, they re-ran the survey in October 2016. "The over-riding message is that the main barriers to using online court services are more about the legal system than about online access per se: people find the system complex and are fearful of making mistakes when the outcomes can have a significant impact on their lives."
Findings from a quantitative survey of adults’ experiences of legal problems in England and Wales by the Ministry of Justice. First published 3rd March 2017.
The Litigant in Person Judicial Engagement Group provides the HMCTS Reform Programme with views from the advice and pro bono sectors in the development of the HMCTS reform programme. Here is a summary of the Group's meeting held on 23rd November 2016.
Published on 8th February 2017, "Justice Matters" is a paper setting out how the change programme will make services better for users.
Network members continue to be closely involved in the government’s court reform programme, and the move to online courts in particular. Responses to the most recent consultation can be found here.