Technology and Access to Justice
The PBEye is excited to report on an online tool in the U.K. called CourtNav, developed by the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau (RCJ Advice) in partnership with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer†. Employing a user-friendly design with simple step-by-step questions, CourtNav helps clients who cannot afford a lawyer complete forms and navigate the court process.
RCJ Advice first triages clients by phone to determine whether someone needs face-to-face advice or can be assisted through CourtNav, which has a number of helpful features — it can spot inconsistent answers, identify whether the client qualifies for reduced court fees, and summarize current status within the court process. The tool also allows the client to communicate with a solicitor to finalize documents before printing, signing, and submitting them in court.
CourtNav is a commendable example of technology not only providing self-help guidance, but also enabling distance pro bono, allowing lawyers in the greater London area to assist clients in remote areas.
Exploring this innovative tool also gives The PBEye another opportunity to ponder “disruptive” pro bono. How should we think about making pro bono more efficient, incorporating new technologies, and developing effective triage systems?
RCJ Advice’s approach to screening clients to determine which matters are most in need of legal representation versus those well-suited to CourtNav appears to be a promising example of leveraging pro bono resources efficiently. We commend Freshfields and RCJ Advice on this exciting example of triage, technology, self-help, and distance pro bono!
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project