Diversity by Design: Improving Access to Justice in Online Courts with Adaptive Court Interfaces

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2 Scopus citations


Recent years have seen the emergence of online courts and tribunals: digital platforms that enable self-represented litigants (SRLs) to complete electronically the entire court (or tribunal) process, from filing through final disposition. This article proposes that the unique nature of online courts as digital interfaces enables them to implement a new strategy - diversity by design - to improve access to justice and procedural justice for a diverse population of SRLs. Reflecting a human-centered legal design approach, and building on research in human-computer interaction and digital choice architecture, this strategy entails embedding diversity accommodating features in the technological design of court platforms. Specifically, building on the empirical relationship between users' demographic attributes and their digital usability and aesthetics judgments, this article suggests that online courts can dynamically adapt their interfaces according to the attributes of a given user in ways that help diverse SRLs engage with online courts, support their effective participation in proceedings, and improve their procedural experiences. The potential impacts include enhancing SRLs' confidence and trust in using online courts and ameliorating their ability to process information, deliberate, make informed decisions and communicate them. Finally, the article discusses concerns regarding the desirability and ethicality of dynamically adapting, that is - personalizing, court interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-152
Number of pages28
JournalLaw and Ethics of Human Rights
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • access to justice
  • adaptive court interfaces
  • choice architecture
  • diversity
  • human centered design
  • legal design
  • online courts
  • online tribunals
  • procedural justice
  • self-represented litigants


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