Shannon Salter – The Civil Resolution Tribunal, Technology & Justice Redesigned for Users (#17)

I want to seize every possible opportunity to bring the justice system to the people who need it.  ~ Shannon Salter

Shannon Salter (@shannonsalter) is the Chair of Canada’s groundbreaking Civil Resolution Tribunal (aka the CRT). She is also widely recognized as a leading voice in the development of tomorrow’s public justice system. 

Shannon doesn’t stop at talking or writing about things courts and tribunals should do or could do; she leads an organization that’s already nearly 4 years into a full transformation of public justice. 

The CRT is well known for its use of online dispute resolution (ODR) directly in the public justice system. But as Shannon explains, many of the tribunal’s breakthroughs don’t flow just from the use of technology. Instead, they come from an approach that puts people at the heart of everything.  

This conversation includes a deep dive into topics like curiosity, open-mindedness and design. We also get to hear Shannon’s views on the need for evidence-based and user-focused approaches to system design, and the urgent need to check our egos and assumptions. She also shares what it was like to develop and launch the CRT, what she would like to see happen in the future, and how legal professionals can continue to lead the way.   

Want to acquaint yourself with the CRT before you listen? This presentation by Shannon is a great place to start. Much more on the CRT website at the bottom of this page.

Topics Covered

  1. Building careers in law and justice
  2. Pro bono work
  3. Access to justice
  4. Legal procedure
  5. Evidence-based approaches to law and policy
  6. Administrative law
  7. Technology and access to justice 
  8. The role of legal professionals in the future of justice and legal services

Listen to “17 Shannon Salter – The Civil Resolution Tribunal, Technology & Justice Redesigned for Users” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 2.2 hours of CPD credits.

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Show Notes

8:40 Growing up on Saltspring Island

11:11 Moving in and out of the technology world 

12:47 How Shannon describes what she does for a living

13:30 Shannon’s path into law

15:30 If Shannon could send an email back in time to herself on the first day of law school

19:00 Reflecting on different perceptions of success in law

23:45 Shannon’s pro bono experience with Access Pro Bono

28:20 Legal Process as a “Bouncer” (tensions between accessing substantive rights and barriers of process or procedure)

28:44 Administrative Burdens by Pamela Herd and Donald P. Moynihan

32:15 Analyzing the process of requesting a fee waiver for someone unable to afford legal fees

35;00 Evidence & data-based approaches to justify (or call into question) justice procedures that may constitute barriers to access

38:30 How Shannon moved into administrative law

40:00 Serving as the Vice Chair for the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal

41:20 Mentors in administrative law 

41:40 Approaching legal technology with curiosity and openness to learning 

44:30 Inspirations that supported the development of the CRT

49:50 Colin Rule of Modria / Tyler 

50:10 Richard Susskind’s question: “Is justice a service or a place?”  

51:00 Property Assessment Appeal Board (ODR)

53:30 Multidisciplinary teams

54:00 Flat or horizontal (rather than hierarchical or command & control teams)

55:45 Creating a new line of business vs shifting an existing line of business 

58:20 Simplifying procedures like applications (e.g. letting people ask for some things)

59:00 Outcome focus rather than procedural focus

1:00:00 The flexible nature of administrative law

1:02:00 The Niqab Case – R. v. N.S. 2012 SCC 72

1:07:10 First meeting with the CRT project team

1:09:30 CRT implementation challenges

1:11:45 Launching an online tribunal before all the technology is ready (learning by doing)

1:13:00 The non-technology aspects of innovation and access to justice

1:15:00 Technology is not an end unto itself

1:15:30 Human-centred design and building justice around users

1:20:15 Creating a culture of accessibility 

1:21:40 Specialized accessibility training for CRT staff and members

1:22:30 Justice, technology and the digital divide

1:26:00 Lawyers and the CRT

1:27:50 Anecdotal public feedback on the legislated presumption of self-representation

1:30:00 The contributions of lawyers in the development and success of the CRT

1:37:30 Shannon’s speech at the Allard Law Women’s Caucus Dinner

1:41:50 Legal Services Corporation Technology Conference Keynote Speech

1:44:20 Working remotely in public justice

1:46:15 Shannon’s views on the future of public justice, access to justice and ODR

1:50:55 How Shannon defines success for herself

1:51:50 Toughest choice or sacrifice to get where she is today

1:54:30 Letting go of ego and traditional perceptions on success for legal practice

1:56:44 Plain language writing

1:57:40 Getting a week’s worth of work done in 3 hours

1:58:22 Special things Shannon does to look after herself

2:00:05 The best place to learn more about the CRT (CRT Website)

2:01:02 “Before my work in the law is done, I want to…”

2:03:04 Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell 

2:07:20 Taking into account subjective perceptions on fairness

2:08:00 Favourite podcasts: Revisionist History, Armchair Expert, Against the Rules

2:09:30 CRT Website and CRT on Twitter

2:09:55 Requests or calls to action for listening

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