Some of our 2019 project students talk about their experiences of the project below and you can see examples of the apps created.
'I decided to take part in the project because in today's society information is mainly found online, this is what attracted me to this project most. It combined the two things I love most, law and digital technology. I have learnt multiple things from this project but the most important thing I learnt was adapting to the audience, I also enjoyed working on a different sector of law that I hadn't considered working in before.
To summarise my experience of the digital justice project, I would highly recommend this to future students as it is a great way to spice up your CV and also to widen your views on different sectors of law. It is flexible so it does not interfere with any assignments or exams. Team leaders are amazing too, they were there to aid whenever we needed help as a group or individually. Overall, an amazing experience'.
Kelsey's Chatbot : Divorce
'The experience with the Open Justice project came exactly at the right moment as I was looking to participate in a practical and contributory extracurricular course after almost two years of studying law at the Open University. This project gave me exposure to hands-on work in the field of legal design and technology. The work was tasked on our team of students while we were supported by professionals in the field of legal design, legal research, and the rest of the Open Justice staff. The coordination by the Open Justice team was great as we received professional feedback in real time (or as close as it gets by emails and forum communication). This is what law students require and the earlier the better.
In summary, this project gave me the opportunity to work on the prevalent and important subject of legal information accessibility, while considering people in need, those who may not enjoy such access to legal information otherwise, or would have no other means of acquiring it. This is a theoretical and practical pro bono course dealing with future solutions to current growing issues faced by those who deal with ‘access to justice’ and the public at large. I hope to see it evolving from its current stage to the point where Digital Justice can apply this great initiative in the field giving aid to persons in need. Special thanks to Francine, Avril, and David for your support'.
Eily's chatbot : Coercive and controlling behaviour offence
'I thought the project had extremely high value as it has application to the real world. It sounded modern and innovative, and exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in.
I learnt a lot around the law on coercive and controlling behaviour, as well as app design and legal design, I really enjoyed learning to use the Josef system. I've been fascinated by the technicalities of creating the bot, 'translating' legal language and ensuring the logic and flow of the bot works.
The project was really interesting, enjoyable, challenging and stimulating. I really enjoy the fusion of tech and law. I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of this awesome project'.
Emily's chatbot: What is coercive or controlling behaviour?
'I love to give back, the idea of aiding access to justice really inspired me. Furthermore, I like to try new experiences and new initiatives which help me to learn and grow as a person.
From the project I learnt a completely new technological platform as well as how to work better within a team. I found the project thoroughly enjoyable, inspiring and it looks at new ways of access to justice, paramount for an ever-changing society'.
Laurie-Elizabeth's chatbot: Divorce
'The project sounded like a very interesting opportunity; I love using technology to solve problems so thought the digital justice project combined this with my love of law.
I learnt how to use personas to get to the heart of issues. Creating a fictional person really helped when trying to get into the mind of our users. I made a great connection with other team members and have made connections which wouldn’t have been possible without the project I really enjoyed learning about a new subject (divorce), also the support and guidance from the OU tutors and project managers has been wonderful. Really enjoyed it and would love to be part of the next project'!
Verity's chatbot: Divorce
'I applied for Digital Justice Programme with hopes of learning more about legal design skills and the benefits of using legal bots in bridging the justice gap. The project complemented my studies, with one of my level 3 law modules discussing the growing intersection between the law, science and technology. The time commitment was also reasonable for a new mother with limited free time, and student in her final honour’s year.
Split into teams we attended online training on how to use the software, where hosts encouraged us to consider the needs and potential barriers faced by prospective users. Through constructing our bot, I discovered more about domestic abuse and how the law often fails to provide the necessary safeguards for certain groups of people. My team for example, focused on users with social care needs and other disabilities who often struggle accessing support and appropriate legal recourse by virtue of the defence of “best interests” provided by s76 (8) of The Serious Crime Act (governing legislation in instances of coercive control) Bots can be incredibly useful for the legal industry; helping business grow and providing basic (but equally important) legal information to prospective clients in a fast, and straight forward manner.
In the future I hope to create more bots on different legal topics, refining my knowledge and helping make legal information more accessible to the general public. I am currently exploring my career options, and am studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Management, hoping to use the knowledge and transferable skills gained through my legal studies in the Business sector'.
Heather's chatbot: Coercive control
Read more in Heather's Blog post here.
You can see some more examples of student chatbots in the table below:
|Domestic violence advisor
|Mental health assistance