Access to Justice
There’ll always be some amount of stress, cost and hassle involved in resolving or preventing legal issues, especially for individuals and SMEs without the means to hire large legal teams.
Whether it’s as family members, neighbours, employees, tenants, consumers, small business owners or any of the other roles we play in our lives, making a legal claim is something most people want to avoid.
But could the process be made easier? And, if so, what impact would this have on a principle at the heart of the rule of law: that those who suffer a wrong, however big or small, should be able to access justice.
Let’s face it, a legal services market in which only one in three individuals – and one in ten small businesses – with a legal problem get expert advice isn’t working as well as it should be. Both the public and small businesses cite a number of barriers to using legal services, including 63% of people who do not believe that professional legal advice is affordable for ‘ordinary people’.
The Challenge has been made possible by a grant from the £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK. The fund enables UK regulators to develop innovation-enabling approaches to emerging technologies and unlock the long-term economic opportunities identified in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.
The Challenge is one example of how regulators can take an ‘anticipatory’ approach to regulation and innovation. It’s an approach which channels public investment into under-served areas and, at the same time, brings regulators into closer contact with market innovators, helping them to detect emerging risks and barriers to progress.
Read our research and design report ‘The use of technology to widen access to justice’ for more context to the Challenge, and look out for our report of findings during the Challenge to be published later in Spring 2020.