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Community Legal Centres in the Digital Era: The Use of Digital Technologies in Queensland Community Legal Centres


Digital technologies are revolutionising the delivery of legal services within Australia. Challenged by innovative technologies, products and processes, the legal profession has been forced to confront their technologically disrupted future and adapt to the new technological age, as both providers and clients become progressively more reliant on increasingly sophisticated digital technology. One sector that stands to reap the benefits of digital disruption is free legal service providers, such as Community Legal Centres (CLCs), whose services benefit from the extended outreach, accessibility and efficiency that digital technologies provide. As institutions that are dedicated to ensuring that vulnerable client groups have access to justice, CLCs must be cautious not to adopt digital technologies without due thought and, consequently, potentially alienate vulnerable clients. In this new technological era, it is now more crucial than ever for CLCs to ensure that clients who may lack access to technology, are digitally illiterate, or prefer face-to-face interactions, are catered for within the CLC sector.

This paper addresses the use of technology by Queensland CLCs by drawing on data collected from semi-structured, qualitative interviews with 10 employees from eight different CLCs. The article asserts that Queensland CLCs preferred to adopt digital technologies that assisted with their organisational needs over client-oriented services, attempting to strike the delicate balance between technological convenience and technological inaccessibility.

Published: 2019-11-04
Pages:64 to 79
Section: Symposium: Automation, Innovation and Disruption in Legal Practice
How to Cite
Sam, Stebin, and Ashley Pearson. 2019. “Community Legal Centres in the Digital Era: The Use of Digital Technologies in Queensland Community Legal Centres”. Law, Technology and Humans 1 (November):64-79.

Author Biographies

Griffith University
Australia Australia

Stebin Sam was awarded Bachelor of Laws (Class I Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from Griffith University in 2018 and is a graduate in the international commercial law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. In addition to being dedicated to understanding more about the nexus of technology and access to justice, Stebin enjoys being an uncle to his nephew and making travelling plans that in most cases do not eventuate.  

University of the Sunshine Coast
Australia Australia

Ashley Pearson was recently awarded her PhD from Griffith University for her study on cultural legal theory, personhood and law within the Japanese video game, Persona 4. Her research focuses around representations of law within popular culture texts, particularly video games, with a focus on transmediality, fandom and coded legality. Reflecting this interest, Ashley is currently developing an edited collection (in collaboration with Dale Mitchell and Tim Peters) entitled Playing Law: A Jurisprudence of Video Games and Virtual Realities to extend scholarship in this area, anticipating publication in 2021. In her spare time, Ashley pretends to be a competitive Splatoon 2 player and denies having an addiction to bubble tea.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074