In this day and age, there are very few things today that can’t be done online. The pandemic
has further narrowed the number of things we can’t do online. However, justice until very recently couldn’t be found online, one had to physically be present in courts to hear judgments. The pandemic however has brought about a huge change in the way the justice system works, all for the good. One can stay at home, attend a virtual hearing, and seek justice.
Digital courtrooms even before the pandemic were being experimented across the world, it was deemed as the “future of justice”, that future may already be here.
Some of the countries that adopted the digital courtroom during the lockdown are the UK, India, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and many more. In 2019, China in fact went a step ahead with the implementation of cyber courts and Artificial Intelligent (AI) judges. These cyber courts have handled cases with regards to online trade disputes, e-commerce purchase liability claims, and copyright cases. Litigants are allowed to lodge their complaints online and then login into a virtual court hearing.
In the UK, the government has set aside $1.32 billion to introduce technology, enhance cybersecurity, and reskill staff to create a digital legal system to solve disputes.
Slow, unintelligible, and expensive
Experts say that the main reason for the establishment of digital courts is that the current system is “broken”. The Organisations for Economic Cooperation and Development says that only 46% of the world’s population lives under the protection of the law and this percentage is falling even in developed countries. During the 1980s, 80% of the households could afford legal aid, however, by 2008 that number had dropped to 29%. The current justice system is also highly unaffordable for businesses too which can result in huge inequality, as parties who can afford legal advisors are clearly at an advantage.
Legal technology to the rescue
Legal technology is predicted to solve the current crisis the justice system is facing. The current technology being used by digital courts is quite primitive and hasn’t been designed for a specific purpose. This can result in the judiciary being unable to function during a crisis.
Lawyers increasingly need to start integrating themselves with technology to make legal aid affordable and deliver better legal services. The legal industry mostly dominated by absurd fees, inefficiency, and medieval structures will soon be a thing of the past. The intention behind using legal technology should be to improve the accessibility of legal services and also make people understand their legal rights when they can be enforced. Therefore, legal technology will be pivotal for a digital court and help to solve disputes at a higher standard and at a reduced cost.