The Radboud University Nijmegen is organising a hybrid conference on 9-10 June 2022 dedicated to The Role of Courts and Access to Justice in the Digital Era. The programme of the event can be consulted here.
The conference is a collaboration of three groups of researchers based at Radboud University: the Institutions for Conflict Resolution group, the Digital Legal Studies group and the Interdisciplinary Hub on Privacy, Security and Data Governance (iHub), and it is made possible also with the support of the Digital Legal Studies Sectorplan and Radboud University.
The theme of the event is triggered by the European Union and national governments emphasis on the need for and benefits of digitalisation of justice. Digitalisation is meant to ‘modernise’ the conduct of judicial procedures. However, there is little reflection on what such ‘modernisation’ entails – beyond saving time and costs – and why a ‘modernised’ procedure is preferable to a ‘traditional’ procedure. In addition, the overall impact of digitalisation of justice on access to justice remains unaddressed: what kind of (access to) justice are governments building? In turn, this requires to examine whether digitalisation of justice changes or indeed transforms – as the concept of ‘digital transformation’ claims – the nature of the justice system, and whether these changes are always positive or desirable. Some even argue that beyond ‘modernisation’ or ‘transformation’, the current reforms amount to a ‘digital revolution’.
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 purpose the conference brings together about 60 researchers from approximately 30 countries to critically assess the process of digitalisation of justice systems and the evolving role of courts in the digital era in Europe and beyond.