Access to justice isn’t just about gaining access to a court. It’s also about finding ways to make the law itself more accessible.
Design, design-thinking, graphic design, communication
Cuts to the legal aid budget are forcing more and more people into bringing claims and defending actions without the assistance of a legally qualified advisor. Self-represented litigants face two, major obstacles: the first is obtaining access to the legal materials applicable to their problem (see Friction). The second obstacle, having cleared the first hurdle, is making sense of that material.
The emphasis of Raconteur is on exploring ways to accurately impart the significance and meaning of legal materials to lay users.
Legal materials, particularly binding legal materials (such as legislation and judgments), need to be accurate and precisely framed. But efforts to ensure accuracy and precision have a tendency to make legal materials difficult to interpret and understand for anyone who has not been trained to use them.
The surge in the number of self-represented litigants as a result of significant cuts to the legal budget has exposed two problems:
Obtaining access to the materials applicable to any given legal dispute is virtually impossible for litigants who do not have access to a subscription database or a well-stocked law library (something in itself increasingly under threat).
Even if the access to the material itself was no longer an issue, the challenge of accurately making sense of the material remains.
Significant progress has been made in the application of more traditional design principles (especially graphic design) to the discovery of methods to effectively communicate the meaning and significance of a range of legal instruments. This project seeks to build upon and support the advances made by other legal innovation shops (particularly, in this regard, the Legal Design Lab at Stanford University).
Are you a teacher or a legal designer?
Raconteur, by its nature, requires a multi-disciplinary team. If you want to contribute to this project or get involved, we would strongly urge you to submit your details here!