On October 20th, the City Law Review held its second annual launch to celebrate the publishing of the second edition. The editorial board was joined by Lord Michael Briggs. Lord Briggs sought to speak to the review about the ongoing challenges of accessing justice during the current pandemic. While it has been a tough transition for Lord Briggs and many others in the legal field, the Justice said that we should see that the pandemic has created an opportunity to expand access to justice.
While the pandemic has flipped the court system on its head, Lord Briggs encouraged us to look at this as an opportunity to digitize access to the court. He joked that old barristers who are deeply attached to their paper bundles have been forced to go digital, something that they probably would not have done without the pandemic. Lord Briggs also pointed out other areas where technology has improved the state of the legal system. He mentioned that the rate of mistakes in divorce filings went down from 40% to 1% when filing became available online. The pandemic offers a real chance to look and evaluate the current system and see how it can be improved by technology.
Lord Briggs admitted that some things will always have to be done in person, such as prison sentences and evictions. He said that the cost-savings of those types of cases will never be more important than the value of face-to-face interactions. Moreover, Lord Briggs agreed that we must all put pressure on the legislator to increase broadband and make sure that digital services are available on mobile phones, and not just laptops. Being an advocate also means addressing the needs of someone who might be technologically illiterate. Advocates need to make sure that technology is creating more opportunities, not more roadblocks. The pandemic has shown us that we can use technology to our advantage and as a tool for expansion.
Lord Briggs said that there are five things law students should do:
- Take advantage of the pandemic to do some ‘blue skies thinking’ about how going digital can make litigation more streamlined and cost-effective;
- Get involved in a law-tech project;
- Become active in your branch by embracing these changes, start thinking about how you can use technology in your future career;
- Look for ways of doing pro bono work, and;
- Use the City Law Review to broadcast our ideas to the wider world.
The City Law Review was truly honoured to be able to speak to Lord Briggs and be able to learn from his insight. The Review is taking submissions until November 11th for anyone who would like to follow his advice. Categories include: Essays, Articles, Case Notes and Letters to the Editor – find out more via the Submissions Guidelines.
Many thanks to Emily Wolf (LLB3) for sharing the details of this event for those who missed it! Emily is both a Lawbore journalist and Publishing Editor for the City Law Review.