Human-Centred Design for Legal Help, Dr Margaret Hagan 21.08.2018

Dr Margaret Hagan discusses her work on intelligent human- centered design and how it can help scale access to justice issues to prioritize people’s trust, dignity, and control.

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Millions of people try to use the legal system to solve life problems — like getting divorced, dealing with a landlord, managing credit card debt, or getting restraining orders. More people are doing this without lawyers, and struggle to navigate its complicated processes, jargons, and requirements. This is leading to an ‘access to justice crisis’, in which people who cannot afford lawyers are not able to use the public court system effectively to resolve their problems.

In this talk, Dr Hagan presents the work that her team have been doing over the past three years in partnership with state civil courts and legal aid groups, in taking a design-driven approach to create innovations in how the legal system operates and how it can better serve the public. Through case studies, she details how her team moved from exploratory, user- and system-research about how courts can be improved for self-represented litigants; towards prototyping and testing new designs and technology; and finally, towards pilots and randomized control trials.

Dr Hagan concludes her lecture with a description of the current artificial intelligence projects that has grown out of her collaborative research combining design with machine learning development. New projects are scoping more intelligent interventions that can scale access to justice resources in ways that prioritize people’s trust, dignity, and control.

By embracing private and public institutional innovation and active case management techniques, stakeholders have the chance to maintain arbitration as a preferred dispute resolution option.

We thank the Melbourne Social Equity Institute for supporting this event.