The SCL Sir Brian Neill Lecture

November 9, 2018

Nothing could be more fitting as the topic for the first Sir
Brian Neill Lecture than one covering technology in the justice system with a
special focus on its humanising effect. Sir Brian was recently described
by Richard Susskind
as ‘the pre-eminent pioneer of court technology’, who
‘had time for everyone’ and, even at 93, retained such a commitment to progress
towards the online court that he attended the SCL Online Courts Hackathon in
2017. The Lecture is an appropriate way to honour his achievements and his
contribution to SCL and court technology.

The Inaugural
SCL Sir Brian Neill Lecture
, sponsored by Kennedys LLP, is to be held on
Monday 3 December. The lecture is to be given by Shannon Salter, Chair of the
Civil Resolution Tribunal, Canada. Since Canada is widely acknowledged as a
leading light in the implementation of online justice solutions, and since
Shannon has very wide experience of different aspects of that implementation,
we can look forward to being considerably enlightened. Shannon’s decision to
tackle the question of whether ODR is compatible with a humanised (and humane?)
justice system is a bold one and will inevitably spark debate; an intervention
from Sir Brian on that issue will be sorely missed. Shannon’s central thesis is
that those engaging with ODR too often focus on the application of technology
to legal problems but the promise of ODR lies in its potential to humanize the
justice system by adapting to a diverse and changing population. The Civil
Resolution Tribunal developed a culture and design methodology which leverages
online and offline tools to fundamentally re-orient the public justice system
to put the public at the centre.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal is Canada’s first online
tribunal resolving small claims, condominium disputes, and motor vehicle
accident disputes. Shannon Salter not only chairs that tribunal but is also an
adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law, a commissioner of the
Financial Institutions Commission, vice president of the BC Council of
Administrative Tribunals, a Law Society of British Columbia disciplinary
hearing panel member, and a board member of the Canadian Legal Information
Institute (CanLII). In 2017, Shannon was named one of the 25 Top Most
Influential Lawyers in Canada, and was previously recognized as one of Canada’s
New Law Pioneers by the Canadian Bar Association and an Access to Justice
All-Star by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSLAP).

The Lecture takes place in the evening of the first day of
the International
Forum on Online Courts
and provides a unique opportunity – not only can one
absorb knowledge from the lecture itself but from the networking from the
attendees at the Forum, who are gathered from jurisdictions across the globe.
There is to be a Forum
after the lecture, sponsored by Accenture, which is to be held in
the Riverside Room at the IET in Savoy Place and is open for attendance by
those not able to be at the Forum itself.