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Community Legal Centres Queensland

Based in Australia, CLC Queensland is a network of legal centres using a range of different types of technology to provide legal advice including using technology to reach the most vulnerable.

In 2018, the Community Legal Centres (CLC) Queensland launched a Sector Digital Strategy. They have completed stage one of the strategy which was to identify the technology needs of the justice sector (Community Legal Centres Queensland, 2020). They are now working on stage two which is a roadmap and resources to introduce the technologies (Community Legal Centres Queensland, 2020).

One barrier found in the implementation of technology in the justice sector is that it is a low priority in comparison to the urgent needs of clients (Veeneman, 2018, p. 4). This gives an indication of why there is such a disparity in technology use between legal centres and private practices (Veeneman, 2018, p. 4).

In a 2015 a study into the types of technology being used by CLC, identified video conferencing to be helpful in reaching clients in rural and remote areas but it had a low level of usage and so there is no evidence to show that there was a tangible benefit in using it where other similar services could be offered through alternative technologies (Phillips and Farrell, 2015, p. 132). There also appeared to be concerns over privacy and reliability which is a common theme in relation to technology (Phillips and Farrell, 2015, p. 132).

Internet-based information was useful in terms of remote access outside of business hours (Phillips and Farrell, 2015, p. 133). Services that offered both general and user specific information appeared to be the most beneficial to a client (Smith cited in Phillips and Farrell, 2015, p. 133). Of the legal centres that use technology, 81.8% of them stated that internet-based information was the most common way of providing legal advice, information or representation (NACLC cited in Phillips and Farrell, 2015, p. 132). This is consistent with a lot of the literature in this area indicating that the internet is the preferred way to access legal information for most people. Therefore, focus for an innovation may be on delivering internet-based legal information and services. Additionally, client’s access to digital services was mostly through one-way resources for example, videos and downloads (Community Legal Centres Queensland, 2020). An innovation might build on this to explore more interactive methods of delivering advice.

In relation to improving trust in technology and overcoming the risk averse nature of legal work, they have identified that they could create ‘risk profiles’ for innovations that clearly present the risks associated with the technology and how they may be mitigated (Veeneman, 2018, p. 14). This may also be something that can be edited to a user-friendly format to help provide reassurance to users.

References

1. Phillips, E. and Farrell, J. (2015) Queensland Community Legal Centres’ Use of Information Technology to Deliver Access to Justice. Legal Information Management [online].15(2), pp. 131-136. [Accessed 14 January 2020].

2. Maysix Consulting and Community Legal Centres Queensland (2020) Building digital capacity for the Queensland CLC sector. Digital Strategy Paper [online]. Community Legal Centres Queensland. Available from: https://communitylegalqld.org.au/sites/default/files/downloads/pages/clcq_digital_strategy_paper_2020_v1.0.pdf [Accessed 14 April 2020].

3. Veeneman, A. (2018) Closing the Digital Gap. Community Legal Centres Queensland [online]. Available from: https://communitylegalqld.org.au/sites/default/files/downloads/pages/digital_strategy.pdf [Accessed 14 April 2020].

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