This document is our response to the Justice Select Committee’s consultation on the implications for access to justice of court and tribunal reforms. It focuses particularly on the impact of these reforms for digitally excluded populations.
We share our research, which points to three main barriers that have a negative impact on digital access. These barriers are socio-economic (education, the cost of being online), communication (comprehension of English, including technical English) and psychological (apathy, trust).
We look in some detail at how these barriers may play out for different groups. These include people experiencing homelessness, people in prison, people with mental health problems, people with acquired brain injury and autism, and young people leaving care. We highlight the lack of consultation with people who have lived experience of the justice system.
As well as considering the journey of these groups in all courts, we also raise concerns. We are concerned that the court and tribunal reforms could widen the existing inequalities in our justice system for these groups.