SCL Chair Mark O’Conor on the excitement engendered by the upcoming International Forum on Online Courts and how you can help with sponsorship
Take a look at that headline again. Quite grand isn't it. Perhaps verging on hyperbole. Rarely have I had the opportunity to write such grandiose statements in my time as SCL Chair, mostly because to do so the statement must ring true, but this time I really do think the hype is justified as, in just under a month, the SCL will be providing just this kind of support by being right at the heart of the First International Forum on Online Courts, a two-day meeting of pioneers in online justice.
The event has been nurtured by our own formidable President, Professor Richard Susskind, in collaboration with Susan Acland-Hood and the digital transformation team at HMCTS. Using their unrivalled network of contacts, the Forum will draw together representatives from an extraordinarily diverse spectrum of jurisdictions and professional backgrounds, all grappling with the very real prospect of harnessing digital technology to transform, not just existing legal processes, but the very idea of justice itself. The two-day Forum will be hosted by DLA Piper in its new flagship London office.
Court officials from Brazil, Canada and Singapore, to name just a few, will be there. In total we have delegates from over 30 jurisdictions joining us. On top of that we have lawyers, academics, campaigners and developers from around the world, all with their ideas and insights to share. As a sign of the importance being placed on the development of online justice, we are delighted that both the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, and the Lord Chancellor, David Gauke MP, will also be addressing the Forum.
Many of the ideas and projects which will be discussed are in their early stages and the Forum will seek to plot a way forward by attempting to answer some of these questions: What systems are up and running? What impact have they had and how is this being measured? How have they been funded and how much have they cost? What techniques and technologies are being used? What have been the main obstacles and how have they been overcome? What are the plans for the future?
I certainly hope that this pooling of talent and knowledge will be remembered as a seminal moment in history of digital justice and I'm proud that the SCL will have played a prominent part in organising and promoting the event. We will, of course, report the event widely both on the day and in the aftermath.
Which brings me to a final call to action. Supporting such an event is not cheap and every bit of financial assistance is welcome. SCL is still looking for additional sponsors, however small, to contribute towards the cost of running this event. If you or your organisation would like to support the Forum, please contact the SCL team for more information.