Legal technology to enable access to justice is one of the main topics at ABA / NLADA Equal Justice Conference 2013, being held 8-11 May 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
The Twitter hashtag for the conference appears to be #ejcstl
Professor Dr. Julie Macfarlane of the University of Windsor has published The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants: Final Report (2013).
The report states the findings of an empirical study of the needs of pro se litigants in courts in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.
Findings are based on one-on-one or focus-group interviews with “259 self-represented litigants” (SRLs) and 107 legal service providers.
Although the sample is not a probability sample, “the characteristics of the SRL sample are broadly representative of the general Canadian population.”
The principal findings regarding information are as follows (I’ve added bulleted lists for ease of reading):
Regarding court forms:
The most common complaints include:
- difficulty knowing which form(s) to use;
- apparently inconsistent information from court staff/judges;
- difficulty with the language used on forms; and
- the consequences of mistakes including adjournments and more wasted time and stress.
Regarding online legal resources:
[SRLs] identified the following weaknesses:
- an emphasis on substantive legal information and an absence of information on practical tasks like:
- filing or serving,
- advice on negotiation or a strategy for talking to the other side,
- presentation techniques, or [...]
- legal procedure;
- [online legal resources] often directed them to other sites (sometimes with broken links) with inconsistent information; and
- multiplicity of sites with no means of differentiating which is the most “legitimate”.
Cynthia Eagan [a member of the research team] found many of the same problems when she audited a selection of on-line Court Guides [... as well as problems concerning:]
- the reading levels of some of this material (as high as 13.5), and
- the heavy use of jargon and unexplained legal terms.
Regarding legal information for SRLs:
- SRL’s in the study frequently described themselves as seeking “guidance” rather than “direction”.
- The most common source of legal information for SRL’s are court staff [...]
- [SRLs] complained about the restrictions on the time and scope of information that these staff can offer, because of:
- the limitation on their providing “legal advice”[...] or [...]
- the sheer volume of people they are dealing with.
- The distinction between legal information/legal advice which lies at the heart of the job descriptions of staff working on the court counters and in information services is consistently complained about by both SRL’s and staff, as at best unclear and at worst practically unworkable [...]
Regarding access to legal services:
[...] many SRL’s sought some type of “unbundled” legal services from legal counsel; for example:
- assistance with document review,
- writing a letter, or
- appearing in court [...]
Please see the comments to this post for events and other information related to the report.
The calendar lists primarily scholarly conferences that focus on legal information systems, legal communication, legal/forensic linguistics, or egovernment (as applied to legal information), or that are known to welcome papers on those topics. The calendar also lists legal hackathons and other legal hacking events.
If you know of events or other information that should be on the calendar but are not; or if you spot errors in the calendar, I’d be grateful if you would please share that information in the comments to this post.
The Parliaments on the Net XI Conference is being held 2-3 May 2013 in London, England, UK.
The conference is being live-blogged at http://potn2013.tumblr.com/
The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #potn2013
Calls for papers remain open for the following workshops being held 10/14 June 2013 at ICAIL 2013: International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law in Rome, Italy:
The conference focuses ‘on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly. The conference will bring together leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, investors and technologists that are experimenting and actively working to re-architect the future of the law. If you’re of a similar mind, we’d love to have you there.’
The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #futurelaw
The conference Chair was Tim Hwang.
The legal informatics-oriented panels at the conference include:
Professor Dr. Daniel Martin Katz of Michigan State University and the ReInventLaw Lab will give the closing keynote address.
The conference is sponsored by CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.
Please see the comments to this post for additional resources related to the conference.
The workshops will be held on 10/14 June 2013 in Rome, Italy.
Here are submission deadlines and links to workshop calls and Websites:
W3 — Legal Open Data: from Institutions to Crowd-sourcing
Some legal informatics papers or panels are included in the program for the 2013 We Robot Conference, to be held 8-9 April 2013 at Stanford Law School, in Stanford, California, USA:
Panel: Law as Algorithm
Speakers: Peter Asaro, Lisa Shay, Woodrow Hartzog
Moderator: Harry Surden
On Implicit and Explicit Legal Requirements for Human Judgment
Do Robots Dream of Electric Laws? An Experiment in Law as Algorithm
Panel: Designing Values
Speakers: Ergun Calisgan, AJung Moon, Aneta Podsiadla
Moderator: Ian Kerr
Open Roboethics Pilot: Accelerating Policy Design, Implementation and Demonstration of Socially Acceptable Robot Behaviors
What Robotics Can Learn from the Contemporary Problems of Information Technologies Sector- Compliance and Enforcement of Privacy by Design
Paper: Programming Robotic Decisions with Potentially Lethal Outcomes: Comparing Self-Driving Cars and Autonomous Weapon Systems, and How They Should Be Regulated as Their Autonomous Capabilities Evolve
Authors: Kenneth Anderson, Matthew Waxman
Commentator: Dan Siciliano (Stanford University Rock Center)