Introduction

This site supports the Digital Justice pilot project, which aims to give students the opportunity to experience using technology to support the provision of legal advice.

The aims of the Digital Justice project

In terms of the legal aspect of the project, students will look at an issue relating to Employment Law. To help those students who have never studied employment law we have provided training materials which they will need to engage with before they choose an area of employment law for the project.

These comprise:

 

The technology-focused goals of the project are for students to gain an understanding of the process of technology and how it could be used to support access to justice. It is important to note that we are not necessarily expecting students to produce a finished product but that they have actively engaged with the process, and gained an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of technology.

So in summary, the Digital Justice project aims to:

  1. Expose W360 students to the impact of technology on legal services;
  2. Give opportunities to use technology to facilitate access to justice;
  3. Develop an innovative project to combine technology and law;
  4. Support the development of skills.

What will you do ?

In the course of the project you will create a web and app-based solution by following a simple process that guides you through defining requirements, understanding how these might be met in principle, and then applying the available tools. This is a repeatable process so that the solution your team creates evolves through a number of iterations across the time available. The tools we provide are simple but effective, enabling you to focus on ensuring that the information you make available is valuable, relevant and helpful to its users rather than having to spend significant effort learning how to use the tools.

While the first iteration or two through the development process will inevitably require more learning and hence team manager guidance, your team should develop an understanding of how the process works, and should therefore become more self-sufficient over the course of the project.

Team structure

As W360 students, you are organised into teams to facilitate management of the work you do on the Digital Justice project. Each team is composed of up to five students, led by a team manager (usually a tutor). The team members contribute ideas and carry out separate pieces of work that are brought together to create a single solution per team.

You will be invited to attend a briefing via Adobe Connect shortly before the pilot starts, after which you will receive login details that you can use to access the development area used by your team.

Delivery methodology

The delivery process is loosely based along Agile principles. This is a project management methodology that is commonly used to deliver software projects when the requirements are likely to change as the application is developed and tested.

The project is divided into a number of phases that correspond to fixed-duration timeboxes. Each team maintains a backlog that is a list of the tasks that they would like to execute. These may be learning activities in which they learn how to use the tools available, or research activities where they source information that they intend to incorporate into their solution, or the actual editing and development of content.

The budget available to each team is the number of hours that the team members have available.

Each phase follows the same process:

  1. The team reviews their backlog, which of course in the first iteration will be blank:
    • New items are added to the backlog – these may be novel or may be changes to existing features suggested by experience from the previous phase; “there are no bad ideas”;
    • When the backlog is complete, each item is assessed and prioritised and the backlog is ordered (highest priority first);
    • The budget is apportioned across as many items on the backlog as the team agree is realistic – these form the scope for the forthcoming phase;
    • Tasks are allocated to individuals or to groups within the team and the scope for this phase is locked down. Any follow-up input from non-attendees must be added to the backlog for consideration in the next phase.
  2. The tasks are carried out until the phase deadline, at which point the phase is closed;
  3. Progress is reported to the whole team on a regular basis;
  4. At the end of the phase an “end-of-phase” progress report is assembled, consisting of updates from each team member. This is used as input to the backlog review of the next phase.

 

The initial scope for your project is loosely defined by the goal statement, so that you are free to explore ideas and come up with their own. The team manager may need to advise or veto ideas put forward.

Meetings, briefings and forums

Some mandatory activities are also included, such as the briefing sessions from the team manager at the start of each phase in which the high-level goals and success criteria for the phase are agreed, as well as learning sessions where new tools are introduced to team members.

Meetings will be in an Adobe Connect Room, always recorded, with access only to the team members. Follow-up (e.g. ideas to be considered in the next phase backlog review), team communication and progress reports will be shared via a forum on the Open Justice website.

Timescales

The following assumptions are used to derive the duration of the Digital Justice project:

  • The project scope is set such that it would take (at 100%) around 2 man-weeks (80 hours) to complete
  • This is an optional (“spare time”) project, so students should not be expected to spend more than 1 hour effort per week
  • There are 5 students in a team, so each spends approx. 16 hours on the project

 

This results in a project duration of around 16 weeks, and the timing of the project is chosen so that it does not impact on end-module-assessments.

Schedule

It is envisaged that the Digital Justice project will start in mid-January, finishing by the end of April.

A potential outline of this period is described below.

Phase 1 –  Jan 21st to Feb 17th

  • Familiarisation phase (with project goals, tools etc.); learning the tools
  • Suggested activity: Information pages
  • Phase 1 backlog review via AC
  • First thoughts about what to do in this phase – topic areas etc.
  • Tutor manages the creation of the initial team project backlog
  • Define success criteria
  • Design/build
  • Feedback week – test against success criteria and report back

 

Phase 2 – Feb 18th to Mar 17th

  • Suggested topic: Further information pages
  • Phase 2 backlog review via AC
  • Define success criteria
  • Design/build
  • Feedback week – test against success criteria and report back

 

Phase 3 – Mar 18th to Apr 7th

  • Suggested topic: Decision trees
  • Phase 3 backlog review via AC
  • Define success criteria
  • Design/build
  • Feedback week – test against success criteria and report back

 

Phase 4 – Apr 8th to Apr 29th

  • Suggested topic: Forms
  • Phase 4 backlog review via AC
  • Define success criteria
  • Design/build
  • Feedback week – test against success criteria and report back

End-of-project review – how did it go overall ?