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Probing the Unknowns

by Roger Smith

This is a guest post by Roger Smith (@rogerjgsmith), responsible for the blog (@lawtech_a2j) on technology and access to justice.

Some things we know about the future of access to justice in the coming decade. And some we don’t. A recent blog post sets out a potential approach to assessing where we are. Do read it and feed back your thoughts.


We know that the number of poor, both internationally and nationally, will expand in the aftermath of Covid with the addition of new groups - younger and more skilled than has previously been the case. Poverty in all its manifestations will, however, affect them much the same: they will need assistance with problems in relation to housing, discrimination, income, relationship disputes, debt, episodic and insecure employment, state benefit entitlement and the other issues which disproportionately affect those on low incomes.


Technology will play a double role. Advances in automation will further eradicate many jobs or making them more insecure. But, technology also offers the possibility of increasing the assistance that can be provided. We have the opportunity massively to expand online assistance and to use it in new ways. We may well need to adjust our philosophy as well - placing more emphasis on assisting self-help than conforming to the traditional paradigm of full service representation.


So, what do you think governments, funders and providers should prioritise?