How can we make the US justice system more accessible, equitable, and human-centered?
Stanford Legal Design Lab runs ongoing research, workshops, classes, and tech development on Justice Innovation. Here we spotlight our top priorities for courts, legal aid groups, foundations, and others interested in making the justice system work better for people.
In particular, we are working on interventions that can:
- Increase people’s participation in the legal system, especially when their rights, money, freedom, and reputation are at risk. This includes working to decrease Failures to Appear at court hearings, and to decrease Default Judgment rates in housing and debt matters.
- Increase people’s legal capabilities to navigate the legal system, which can ensure that people are willing to engage with the system, that they understand their rights and options, and are able to deploy this knowledge into strategies.
- Improve the quality of justice for cases that go through the courts, that includes litigants’ sense of procedural justice throughout the case, the substantive justice in the cases’ outcomes, and the social justice of people’s outcomes after the case has finished.
The Lab has created Wise Messenger, a platform to set up automated text messages from a court, or other legal organization to their users. We are studying whether procedural notifications by SMS improve people’s appearance rates at hearings, appointments, and other important legal events.
If your court or office would be interested in sending automated text reminders and procedural notifications, please let us know here, and we’ll be in contact.
When people search online for contact information, hours, and procedure for your organization — make sure that they find your website and the help information on it. By applying Schema.org markup to the back-end of your website, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and others will better be able to recognize that your organization should be featured high on search results.
Our Lab has made a tool so that you can easily create this markup, and then paste it onto your website’s backend code.
Give people a birds-eye view of what to do when appearing before a traffic court — and how to request relief from fines and fees.
The Legal Design Lab team created these open-source designs in our classes and now makes them widely available for replication and reuse. For example, we made these Traffic Court visuals in Design For Justice: Traffic Court, with our partners East Bay Community Law Center and NLADA. The visual designs for posters and handouts have been piloted in Alameda County, California. They were particularly created for courts that have recently introduced ‘Ability to Pay’ procedures.
If you would like to adapt these to your court or clinic, to help litigants understand their pleading options and how to request ‘Ability to Pay’ evaluation, please write to us. We will be happy to help you adapt these flowcharts and visuals to your context.
Welcome to Stanford Legal Design Lab’s Justice Innovation site, a clearinghouse of projects, ideas, and research for making a user-centered legal system.
We bring the best current projects and future ideas together to identify how we can get to 100% Access to Justice.
Our goal is to spotlight affordable, scalable, meaningful new projects that courts, clinics, startups, and others can deploy.