Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20

FEATURE
In his 2019 book Online Courts and the Future of Justice, Susskind articulates
a vision for virtual courts, the pros and cons of their use, and what the
future portends. It's a vision that holds out promise for solving the global
access-to-justice problem, particularly in the developing world.

OLD SYSTEMS 'CREAKING BADLY'

"It's pretty clear that if you look across the existing initiatives and
the growing interest, this very much has the feeling of a when, not if,
situation," says Susskind, one of the organizers of the London conference.
"It's largely because people within the court system themselves know
that the system is creaking badly and that access to justice is a problem.
And people are wanting to hear about new techniques and methods."

Of the world's 7.8 billion people, more than 4 billion live outside the
protection of the law, according to the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development. Even in countries with functioning legal
systems, such as the UK, there is a real gulf between needing access to
the courts, knowing one's legal rights, and being able to enforce them
in a way that delivers results, Susskind writes.

Susskind and his colleagues in the UK started back in 2016 by asking the
simple but trenchant question: Is the court a service or a place? It is, they
decided, a service in most cases. They then proceeded to imagine an
electronic court system that is as easy to use as Amazon.

In making his case about transforming court systems by leveraging technology, Susskind says there are probably one billion people worldwide
who fall into this gap between having rights and being able to exercise
them in court. Online courts can help, Susskind says.
The UK, Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, and the United States have
already started moving in that direction, implementing varying forms
of online courts, while other countries are looking into developing their
own. An international conference on online courts planned for November
in London is expected to draw 250 attendees from more than 26 countries.

THE UK EXPERIENCE

Among the service systems that Susskind and his fellow reformers
examined was that of eBay, which has an embedded dispute resolution
process that handles more than 60 million disputes between buyers and
sellers each year. In effect, eBay runs a private-sector model that handles
high volumes of low-value disputes often resolved by the parties themselves. It is built around a model of problem diagnosis and automated
negotiation that culminates with mediation and arbitration as necessary.
Susskind's team also looked at the UK Financial Ombudsman Service,
which had a mandatory alternative dispute resolution system for consumers and financial services firms. Low-value disputes were resolved
by case handlers informally and quickly.
Susskind's recommendation, adopted in the UK justice system's transformation initiative in 2016, was to establish a new internet-based court
system called "Her Majesty's Online Court."

Wil Coban

His plan involved three tiers: dispute avoidance, dispute containment,
and dispute resolution. The intent was to create "a fundamentally new
approach to the provision of the public court service for the resolution
of minor civil disputes," Susskind writes in his book.

''

I don't think that any credible court administrator or
policymaker or judge can think that in 2030 the court
systems will be as they are today. It's very clear that we
have a growing movement here, not simply to automate
processes we've used in the past, but also to provide an
entirely new platform for public state-based resolution.
RICHARD SUSSKIND
Society for Computers and Law (UK)

20 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2020

Initially, the plan was to reduce delays and cut costs by shifting divorce
filings and traffic tickets online while closing down old courthouses and
reducing staff. Early gains have been made, but the larger agenda is
massive. It involves more than 50 projects that will affect around 16,100
full-time staff, 341 courts and tribunal centers, and 4.4 million cases
annually, according to an October 2019 report by the UK House of
Commons Justice Committee. The challenges are real, but the digital
reforms are winning converts.
While online courts offer the potential to help people enforce their
rights, as Parliament's review of the UK experience shows so far, successes
in developing user-friendly digital processes don't solve the access-tojustice puzzle by itself. In fact, new risks and barriers to fairness emerge.
Members of Parliament, noting some "administrative chaos" in the
process, recommended last year that the new "network of assisted digital
Online Centres be extended to deliver comprehensive national coverage
with walk-in access" by 2021.

A BLANK SLATE IN CANADA
In British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada, a new online
Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is taking off. Chartered by legislation in
2014 and launched in mid-2016, the CRT is an administrative tribunal -
not a court - that was initially designed to handle matters arising from
condominium association disputes. (Condominiums make up a high



Washington Lawyer - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2020

LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
DIGITAL JUSTICE
ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
TAKING THE STAND
ON FURTHER REVIEW
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
SPEAKING OF ETHICS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DIGITAL JUSTICE
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - TAKING THE STAND
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPEAKING OF ETHICS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover4
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