Accessing Justice during COVID-19

Finding new ways to provide empathic and safe legal services with guest speakers Shannon Salter and Jane Cipants.

02 April 2020
12:00 am - 1:00 am


How do we attend court when we’re in lockdown? How can our police, legal aid practitioners and court staff provide services safely, while still maintaining access to justice for all? For a traditionally conservative sector, there is now an imperative for our justice sector to adapt, and quickly. Far from a short-term disadvantage, at Portable we see an opportunity — and an imperative — to usher in new approaches in legal design, innovation and technology to continue delivering access to justice in a new era.

To find out, we’re speaking to thinkers and innovators in the global legal sector, like Shannon Salter (Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Canada) and Jane Cipants (Director of Client Services, Legal Aid NSW, AU).

What we'll cover

In this webinar, we’ll be considering the social and technical changes in the operating environment of justice during the COVID-19 crisis, and what opportunities there are for investing in the infrastructure, and improving the user experience of courts and the legal system.

We’ll touch on:

  • Audio-video links - exploring positives, negatives, and grey areas when using video connect people in the justice system
  • Online Dispute Resolution - showcasing the global legal communities’ move to adopt a way to resolve matters out of court, particularly in civil jurisdictions, and learnings for its broader application in Australia
  • Triaging and Scheduling - identifying common tensions in the scheduling and triage of daily lists and looking for ways to make it easier to let hearing participants know what’s expected of them, and when
  • Agreement of facts through online “collaboration” - understanding the potential for prosecutors, defence, and parties to state and agree to facts through online documentation for less serious hearing types instead of being heard at mentions
  • Empathic User experiences - proposing opportunities for empathic support for users in the justice system, particularly in the preparation and attendance at court
  • Additional considerations when moving online -  attending to the privacy of participants, and the security of data storage and transmission, and inclusive design principles

The quote above has never been more heartening than now, when services we have taken for granted are under immense pressure.

Australia has been working towards prioritising a more accessible and user-focused justice system for the last several years. This has seen initiatives such as a shift to using plain language in courts and legal resources, the adoption of video-enabled justice to connect users in remote parts of the country to a court, and working to decrease the waiting time from court application to hearing. In some states, we have also seen the pilot or adoption of online courts for certain jurisdictions. Government and the judiciary are at a critical juncture, where increased demand for justice services are predicted as a secondary outcome of the contemporary pandemic. 

Family violence is expected to rise as families adjust to sudden pressures and changes to daily life, and we may see a corresponding increase in applications for intervention orders. The Fair Work Ombudsman is being flooded by employees and employers trying to understand the best way to carry on. Police are being asked to meet new needs in helping create safety in a time of crisis, and cannot afford to spend hours waiting to appear as a witness in a court case. Time  citizens spend waiting for their hearings to commence must be minimised as courts everywhere reduce gatherings of people indoors.

Now more than ever, we’d like you to join us on this urgent transformation to make justice more accessible.

Who's it for

Our webinar is suitable for:

  • Legal practitioners 
  • Members of the Judiciary
  • Legal Aid network, and other independent statutory authorities in the justice system
  • Community legal services and advocacy organisations
  • Legal designers and technologists (current or aspiring)
  • Administrators in the governance and service delivery of the justice system

Webinar details

Thursday 2 April, 11:00am - 12:00pm AEDT

A link to join the webinar will be provided to registered participants via email.

We will have Sarah Kaur (Chief Strategy Officer), and Legal Design specialist Luke Thomas presenting this webinar, joined by guest speakers Shannon Salter (Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Canada) and Jane Cipants (Director of Client Services, Legal Aid NSW, AU), and an opening and QnA facilitation by Portable co-founder and Fellow at the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Simon Goodrich.

After the 50 minute presentation, attendees will be invited to stay for a Q&A session with the panelists for up to 10 mins, and a recording of the webinar will be distributed to all registered participants in the days after the event.

What if I can't make it?

You're in luck. This webinar will be recorded and published as a video on the Portable website at a later date.

If you cannot make Wednesday's event but would like to know when this video goes live you can register for the 'Send me the video' option in the registration section.

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