Participatory Design for Innovation in Access to Justice


Publish Date:
October 26, 2019
Publication Title:
Journal Article Volume 148 Issue 1 Page(s) 120-127
  • Margaret D. Hagan, Participatory Design for Innovation in Access to Justice, 148 Daedalus 120 (2019).


Most access-to-justice technologies are designed by lawyers and reflect lawyers’ perspectives on what people need. Most of these technologies do not fulfill their promise because the people they are designed to serve do not use them. Participatory design, which was developed in Scandinavia as a process for creating better software, brings end users and other stakeholders into the design process to help decide what problems need to be solved and how. Work at the Stanford Legal Design Lab highlights new insights about what tools can provide the assistance that people actually need, and about where and how they are likely to access and use those tools. These participatory design models lead to more effective innovation and greater community engagement with courts and the legal system.