Last updated:2023-09-18
LAPG leads debate over role of IT in access to justice
The 2015 Legal Aid Practitioners Group annual conference will focus on the role IT should play in reducing the access to justice gap caused by the LASPO cuts.
LAPG director Carol Storer said: ‘No amount of technology will ever replace what has been lost, but we and our members have a duty to clients to be open minded about IT, and to encourage its use and development where this is in the interests of justice.’
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The theme of the event, being held in Birmingham on 9 October, is the future of legal aid. Panelists at the ‘Access to justice and IT’ plenary session will include Roger Smith (pictured), a lawyer and former director of LAG who conducted research into digital legal services for those on low incomes for the Legal Education Foundation, and Jen Hyatt, a ‘social entrepreneur’ who founded the Big White Wall, which provides online support to people suffering mental health problems.
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Hyatt (pictured) was a judge for the ‘Access to justice through IT’ category at this year’s LAPG Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards and is now turning her attention to filling the gap left by the legal aid cuts. She told one national newspaper: ‘It’s about creating “virtual lawyers” who can process people’s stories, help them identify legal issues and give them first-level legal guidance without them having to queue at an advice bureau.’
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There will also be plenary sessions with contributions on where the sector goes next from the Legal Aid Agency, the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and one on the future of human rights and legal aid, with Matrix Chambers’ Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Doughty Street’s Alison Pickup (pictured).
The LAA will be running a stand in the exhibition accompanying LAPG’s conference demonstrating its much-maligned Client and Cost Management System, which is due to be implemented across the board in February 2016. It is also running beginners and advanced CCMS training sessions, with places strictly limited.