The Inaugural SCL Sir Brian Neill Lecture is to be given by Shannon Salter on ‘Can Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Humanize the Justice System?’
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 Dinner 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.