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70 Vand. L. Rev. 1993 (2017)
Improving Access to Justice in State Courts with Platform Technology

handle is hein.journals/vanlr70 and id is 2056 raw text is: 

          Improving Access to Justice

                      in   State Courts

            with Platform Technology

                             J.J. Prescott*

        Access to justice often equates to access to state courts, and for
 millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes-often
 with  the government-is a real challenge. Reforms are regularly
 proposed in the hopes of improving  the situation (e.g., better legal aid),
 but until recently a significant part of the problem has been structural.
 Using state courts today for all but the simplest of legal transactions
 entails at the very least traveling to a courthouse and meeting  with a
 decisionmaker  in person and  in a one-on-one setting. Even  minimally
 effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation, and very often
 the financial wherewithal to miss work  or to pay for child care. In this
 Article, I investigate the effects of altering this structural baseline by
 studying the consequences of introducing online platform  technology to
 improve citizen access to justice. In courts that adopt the technology,
 citizens are able to communicate with law enforcement, prosecutors, and
 judges to seek relief or negotiate a resolution through an online portal at
 any time of day. Examining   many   months  of data from  half a dozen
 adopting state courts, Ipresent evidence that introducing this technology
 dramatically reduces the amount   of time it takes for citizens to resolve
 their disputes and satisfy any fines or fees they owe. Default rates also
 plummet,  and  court personnel,  including  judges,  appear  to engage
 constructively with  citizens when   using   the platform.   From   the
perspective of state courts, disputes end more quickly, the percentage of

   *   Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School. I am very grateful to the Third
Century Global Initiatives Grant Program at the University of Michigan for funding the UM
Online Court Project, of which this research is a part; the staff at Court Innovations Inc. for sharing
their data, expertise, and time; Max Bulinski and Kyle Rozema for their comments; and Facundo
Bouzat, Grady Bridges, Troy Epstein, Joseph Gallmeyer, Jesse Hogin, Simmon Kim, M Moore,
Marissa Perry, Joseph Piligian, and Andr6 Rouillard for excellent research assistance on work
related to this Article. Conflict disclosure: I am a cofounder and equity holder of Court Innovations
Inc., a University of Michigan startup that develops and implements online case resolution
systems, including Matterhorn, which is evaluated in this Article.

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