The technology of access to justice: Rechtwijzer 2.0

The technology of access to justice: Rechtwijzer 2.0 05 March 2014

At HiiL, we partner with the Dutch Legal Aid Board and Modria (with support of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice) to develop an access to justice platform that builds on  www.rechtwijzer.nl. This application offers legal diagnosis and triage, basic information about rights and obligations and concrete tools and other support for solving legal problems.

Rechtwijzer 2.0 takes this a few steps further. It offers a platform for legal information, advice and services, some of which are automated. It enables people to work on solving their legal problems in their own words, at their own pace, from their own homes. Together with the other person. With professional service providers readily available to help them. To mediate, advise, decide or to review the end result. Lawyers and adjudicators working with Rechtwijzer 2.0 offer their services online, unbundled and on a pay as you go basis against fixed fees.

Rechtwijzer 2.0 thus is a justice platform that builds on the actual behaviour of people with a legal problem. As legal needs studies show us, people with a legal problem across the globe show more or less similar behaviour: most people first look for information about their problem, rights, obligations, and options for solving their problems. People often first try to solve their legal problem themselves and seek help if this does not work. They generally want support with contacting the other party, communicating, negotiating. And also have a need for neutral information that help them determine a fair result.

Initially, Rechtwijzer 2.0 focuses on divorce cases in The Netherlands, but the platform can be easily configured to other problems and other problems. When we design justice processes on the basis of what works rather than on the basis of normative rules, international standards, best practices and even standardisation all of a sudden become within reach.

Justice 2.0 for me is much about designing these types of justice platforms. Justice as a platform that starts from the behaviour of people, the support they need and the things that work for this.