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Showing posts from November, 2012

Big Data, Data Analytics, and the Access to Justice “Card”

It is not uncommon for court leaders and justice stakeholders to raise the access to justice “card” to subvert the closing or consolidation of courts.If you close this court -- the argument goes -- citizens will be denied access to justice. This is a strong argument because it typically evokes an emotional response irrespective of the information’s truth value, especially if the counter-arguments are couched in bland terms like efficiency and cost-savings. Trouble is that such arguments are heavy on rhetoric and light on hard evidence; and they often produce factionalism and political stalemate (see Court Consolidation in Mahoning County). 
In a 2005 survey of the public and of attorneys in California, respondents who were asked about eleven reasons that might keep someone from “going to court,” cited “travel distance to court from home” less often than eight of the other reasons including fees, cost of hiring an attorney, the time it takes to reach a decision, lack of child care, and …