Technology: Tool or Barrier to Access to Justice

By Louis Dejeu-Castang

“The introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) together with local authority funding cuts has created an adverse environment which has resulted in half of the law centres or agencies offering free legal advice being closed”[1]. This striking statistic highlights the severity of the crisis facing access to justice in the UK. It highlights a void wherein the vital legal information, that used to be supplied by law centres, is no longer reaching those that need it most. To many, access to justice is now considered a luxury as opposed to a human right. However, technology, in spite of its power to connect, has several attributes that make it seem a poor tool for rectifying this problem. Continue reading “Technology: Tool or Barrier to Access to Justice”

The Threat of Technology to Access to Justice

By Abe Chauhan

This essay was awarded third place in  UCL CAJ SPBC writing competition to answer the question: “Technology is a useful tool for furthering access to justice”

Many are heralding a new era of ‘posthuman governance’[1] in which complex social issues are ‘deconstructed into neatly defined, structured and well-scoped problems that can be solved algorithmically’.[2] However, new technologies are not neutral and egalitarian tools but human creations and their effects on access to justice depend on the way in which they are designed, deployed and operated by public authorities. Promises of a digital technocracy disguise ruthless cost-cutting measures which will likely perpetuate structural injustice and worsen access to justice. In particular, the digitisation of courts and tribunals could introduce access barriers and offend principles of natural justice (Part II) and automated decision-making (“ADM”) systems look set to outpace the development of traditional judicial review doctrines with the result that claimants’ rights may become materially unenforceable before the courts (Part III). As long as technological solutions are developed to prioritise efficiency in monetary terms, access to justice will continue to be under threat.

Continue reading “The Threat of Technology to Access to Justice”

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