SRA points to technology as research shows most believe legal system is not for "ordinary people”

updated on 03 June 2019

Most people do not feel that the justice system works for them, according to new research.

A survey of some 1,800 people across England and Wales found that 58% of respondents felt that the legal system is not set up for ordinary people, with the vast majority wanting access to legal support to become easier.

By far the biggest barrier to accessing legal advice was costs, with 68% saying they would not be able to access help because they can’t afford it.

The research was commissioned to support the Legal Access Challenge, an initiative run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that aims to improve access to legal services through technology.

The scheme has £250,000 to spend on grants for new ideas to improve access to legal advice through tech, with the first four grants of £50,000 to be awarded in September – applications are open until 11 August.

However, questions have been raised about whether technology really is the key to repairing the public’s relationship with the justice system – these issues are explored in this article from the Law Gazette.

Chris Gorst, head of better markets at Nesta Challenges, said: “For too many people, legal support and advice seems out of reach and reserved for those with the time and money to navigate a complex legal system…We want to see digital solutions that directly support individuals and small businesses to access legal services conveniently and affordably, and which can help close the ‘legal gap’ we currently face.”