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Mobile and Web-Based Legal Apps: Opportunities, Risks and Information Gaps

Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, Fall 2017, Forthcoming

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2017-17

41 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2017 Last revised: 16 Jun 2017

Suzanne Bouclin

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Jena McGill

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Amy Salyzyn

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: April 28, 2017

Abstract

Mobile and web-based apps are one technology with the potential to improve access to justice, either by helping lawyers increase the efficiency of service delivery or by reducing the need for recourse to lawyers altogether for some legal needs.

Notwithstanding growing excitement about the potential presented by legal apps, there has been no comprehensive study regarding the range of such apps currently available to Canadians, nor has there been a concrete exploration of what these apps purport to do and whether they have the capacity to actually improve access to justice.

In this paper, we offer a preliminary taxonomy of the legal apps available in Canada, of which we have identified approximately 50. This taxonomy seeks to identify developers, targeted users and the functions that legal apps are designed to perform. Further, we contribute to future policy discussions about legal apps through an analysis of the potential benefits and risks of using this technology in the pursuit of access to justice. Finally, we conclude with a call for dedicated empirical data and research on legal apps in Canada and for increased policy attention to leveraging the opportunities and mitigating the risks presented by legal apps.

Keywords: apps, law, legal technology, access to justice

Suggested Citation

Bouclin, Suzanne and McGill, Jena and Salyzyn, Amy, Mobile and Web-Based Legal Apps: Opportunities, Risks and Information Gaps (April 28, 2017). Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, Fall 2017, Forthcoming; Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2017-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2960207

Suzanne Bouclin

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Jena McGill

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Amy Salyzyn (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur St
Ottawa, Ontario K1N6N5
Canada

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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