A new report commissioned by the International Legal Aid Group has suggested it is too soon to determine whether an online court will enable easier access to the court system. Analysis on the implementation of online dispute resolution (ODR) systems carried out by the Cambridge Pro Bono Project, based at Cambridge University’s law faculty, warns that if the design of systems is not well-thought out “delays could in fact be caused as users take time to navigate a complex IT system.” The report also suggests that it is unclear whether ODR discourages litigants from obtaining legal advice, adding: “This may, in itself, be a false economy as unrepresented individuals, who lack experience and insights into legal processes, could take more time to progress their case through the system.” The report says there is little neutral insight into the suitability of the systems as “much of the commentary on ODR is provided by creators of the system or the policy-makers driving its implementation.”

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