Call for papers Developments in PIL

Call for Abstracts: The Role of Courts and Access to Justice in the Digital Era

The Radboud University in the Netherlands is organising a two-day symposium on 9-10 June 2022 dedicated to The role of courts in the digital era and access to justice.

As underlined by the organisers:

Digitalisation is often viewed as a key condition to ensuring effective justice in the modern era, enhancing “resilience” of justice systems. It presumably helps tackle delays, enhance legal certainty, and make justice cheaper and more accessible for all. At the same time, challenges associated with digitalisation are highlighted, such as ensuring access for disadvantaged groups to digital technologies, the impact of digital technologies on fundamental rights and procedural justice, and ensuring security and privacy of digital solutions. The emergence of new technology brings with it the need for ongoing assessment of its impact.

For this reason the event seeks to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners to critically assess the process of digitalisation of justice systems and the evolving role of courts in the digital era in Europe and beyond.

A call for abstracts is ongoing until 1 February. The organisers are looking for submission of conference papers related to the following questions:

  1. How does digitalisation of justice, and particularly, an increased use of remote justice and AI affect the role of courts as institutions upholding the rule of law?
  2. To what extent do the different elements of ‘digital justice’, such as remote justice and AI, comply with fundamental rights and procedural justice values?
  3. How and to what extent does digitalisation of justice affect individuals’ access to justice? How does it affect the role of the court as an institution providing a public service of ensuring access to justice (‘having a day in court’)?
  4. How does digitalisation impact the legitimacy of the court and its symbolic role as an arena for public participation? What are the obstacles and opportunities created by the (different elements of) digitalisation of justice towards democratisation of justice and increased public participation in legal processes?
  5. How does digitalisation affect the working processes and professional autonomy of judges and other court professionals?
  6. Which judicial interpretation techniques are used when facing the phenomenon of digitalisation? For instance, do they also rely on soft law instruments in addition to hard law; do they use examples from international, European and foreign case-law; and how much do they rely on technical experts or amicus curiae?
  7. How, if at all, does digitalisation affect the distribution of competences between the different courts and other (non-judicial) conflict-solving bodies within the judicial system? Does digitalization open new opportunities for non-judicial dispute resolution, or for enriching the toolbox available to prevent disputes from happening at all?
  8. How, if at all, does digitalization facilitate (non-judicial) dispute resolution in a transnational context?
  9. What is the current status of digitalisation of justice systems in practice in the various EU Member States, and how does it compare with the underlying goals and assumptions behind EU/national policies on the digitalisation of justice?
  10. Do the priority areas for the digitalisation of EU justice systems identified by the European Commission in its Communication on Digitalisation of Justice in the EU, namely: digitalising public justice services; promoting the use of videoconferencing; facilitating the interconnection of national databases and registers; and promoting the use of secure digital transmission between authorities, reflect the actual priorities or needs for (further) digitalisation of justice systems?
  11. What is the exact scope of challenges to the ‘digitalisation of justice’ in Europe identified by the Commission, namely: equal access to disadvantage groups; digital security concerns; ensuring respect for fundamental rights? Is the list of challenges identified by the Commission adequate and comprehensive?

Together with paper abstracts the organisers are interested to receive proposals for interactive panels or workshops on the above themes as well as proposals for pitches (‘Soapbox’) on relevant topics for the symposium.

More information on the submission and selection procedure is available here.