Online initiative is debuted in US, and gets a big thumbs up from UK lawyers
Nervous litigants-in-person (LIPs) could be in for a treat, as an online game that helps lawyerless court-goers prep for hearings is rolled out in the USA.
Lawyers across the UK have signalled their support for the initiative, commenting that it can only be seen as a positive in a legal system struggling to cope with increasing numbers of litigants unable to find — or rather afford — representation.
Dan Jackson and Martha Davis, both law academics at Northeastern University in Boston, are the architects behind the game.
It’s far from a test of legal knowledge like the law exams our readers are used to. Users play to develop courtroom skills, such as how to address the judge and how to cross-examine a witness.
A quick look at the shaky graphics and you’d be forgiven for thinking the game is a bit of a farce. But — in a legal landscape characterised by increasing numbers of LIPs, particularly in family law disputes — any initiative that helps settle the nerves of laymen is a positive.
That is certainly the message from the family bar. Speaking to Legal Cheek, a family barrister explained:
Anything that can assist LIPs in allaying their fears at what will inevitably be a very anxious time is to be welcomed. The more they know, the less they will have to ask. The more knowledgeable the LIP, the easier it is for the judge to come to a verdict swiftly and effectively. The better prepared a LIP, the more comfortable he or she will be in the court environment, and this can only speed up justice.
The introduction of the game, albeit in America, also taps into a wider trend of emerging online legal help resources. Think ‘robot lawyer’: the virtual lawyer created by computer science student Joshua Browder, which helps disgruntled claimants with parking fines and travel delay compensation woes.
Who knows, if Lord Justice Briggs gets his way and lawyerless courts become a reality, you might not just be learning about court cases online, but resolving your court cases online too.
You can play the game here.