Team Introduction

242599743_297694175055924_4309857660091210268_n.jpg

243003510_1719096184946457_4452690995090910491_n.jpg

242975391_538486297246696_5126945001680643246_n.png

243031847_195223355969330_6604679832805446339_n.png

Felix Hall - Computer Science

Leidi Peng - Laws / Commerce (Finance)

Nelson Prichard - Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Grace Beattie - Laws / Science (Psychology)

Problem

problemOverview.png

Initial Investigation

The initial stage of problem research was reaching out to a variety of legal professionals (including an ex Family Court judge, current barristers and in house lawyers at large international companies). Interviews with each of these experts yielded interesting insights about various problems facing law. Many of them mentioned the stress and mental health issues resulting from the heavy workload, although some said that there was a lot being done to help them within this space.

Another common problem we heard was difficulties with self-represented litigants (SRLs). We heard that they struggle to prepare for court because they do not know where to find the right information, they do not understand court procedure and can be very emotional, at the expense of preparing a persuasive case. The consequences of this are neatly summarised by LawRight:

  1. Disadvantage to the self-represented litigant;
  1. Increased cost to the justice system; and
  2. Effects on the other parties to the litigation.

Problem.drawio (1).png

Dewar, J., Smith, B.W., Banks, C., (2000) Family Court of Australia, Litigants in Person in the Family Court of Australia, pg. 52 **

The lawyers we spoke to noted that SRLs make trials more drawn out and emotionally volatile, which means that the judge and opposing counsel have to support them through the trial process while trying to ensure a fair trial. The Queensland Law Society even published a memo called "Dealing with Self-represented Litigants," which outlines the difficulties of providing procedural guidance to the opposing party in a matter while avoiding a conflict with your own client's interests.

Pivot: Supporting SRL In Court

Mindmap.PNG

We identified three main issues with SRLs' engagement with the legal system:

  1. Access to legal information
  2. Understanding legal procedure