Just, Quick and Cheap? Civil Dispute Resolution and Technology
Macquarie Law Journal, 2019
23 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 5, 2019
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’. The pace of life of the mid-19th century when this was written and the (comparatively) modest rate of technological change possibly allowed for a more considered reflection of past events towards moving ahead. However, the increasing rate of technological change over the past two decades and the predicted pace of technological change into the future have established ‘disruption’ as a catchword. The pace of justice reform is (generally) faster, the price is (often) less expensive, and society seeks unhindered access to justice — on a cheap and quick basis.In the context of the legal landscape, this article begins by examining three levels of technological change that have impacted and will continue to impact on the operation of the civil justice system within a framework of objectives relating to expense, speed and justice. The authors argue that there appears to be a general consensus that the ‘quick and cheap’ resolution of civil disputes will be supported through technological developments, although whether this will meet objectives in respect of ‘just’ results and processes remains uncertain. The authors then explore the meaning of ‘justice’ and how technological innovation can bring advantages and pose challenges in terms of access to justice. This article also addresses concerns about technological change in the context of civil dispute resolution, focusing on the relationship between disruptive technologies and ‘just’ resolution. The readiness of the community for technological innovation is explored from the perspectives of the tech-savvy client, to the top tier firm utilising the latest artificial intelligent machinery, through to the courts striving towards satisfying ‘overriding objectives’ in terms of a ‘Just, Quick and Cheap’ civil justice system.
Keywords: Civil Dispute Resolution, Technology
JEL Classification: K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation