A few weeks ago, I bogged on some principles for triage that had come out of a meeting at the TIG conference.
Since then I have elaborated and expanded them, including expanded their scope to include triage conducted to determine how a court should treat a case, as well as that to decide what services should be provided to litigants to navigage the court track. This draft reflects extensive help from Tom Clarke, Vice President at the National Center for State Courts, particularly with the insight that court-track triage must be included, and for a re-organization to reduce the number of principles.
Here is the current draft:
- The system should be usable by everybody to find and get into the system and to get to the help that they need to obtain access to justice.
- The system should provide actual court access and actual help to everybody who uses it, providing help at an appropriate level of meaningful assistance.
2. Consistency and Predictability of Triage Outcomes
- The system should be consistent in who is provided with what services or goes into which court processes.
3. User Focus, Control, Support and Choice
- The system should be user-friendly, user-oriented, and user directed (it is to meet user needs, not just or even primarily those of the organizations participating.)
- The system should allow users maximum control over the paths and services, they use, consistent with cost issues.
- The system should offer multiple ways for users to enter and move between service options and choices (such as deciding to seek legal assistance after first attempting self help.)
- The system should include varied user support systems.
- The system should minimize the need for users to provide repeated information.
- The system should get people directly linked to, and trackably processed by, the organizational resources from which they need a response.
- The system should have the capacity to export data directly into multiple, standardized organization intake or information systems and tools — it should not be just a referral system.
- The system should have built into it the up-to-date case-acceptance criteria and service availability data, so that there are no “dead-end” hand-offs.
- The system should include mechanisms for follow up, to minimize multiple, duplicative or incorrect referrals.
4. Comprehensiveness of Problems and Services
- The system should be comprehensive in the range of problems identified and addressed.
- The system should take advantage of legal analysis, social science research and ongoing analysis of existing case and intake data to be able to ask sufficient questions to make sure that an appropriately holistic range of a person’s issues are identified and responded to.
- The system should include access to all service mechanisms, including court access services, legal aid programs, law school clinics, providers of unbundled services, informational websites, document assembly systems, online chat, pro bono and private lawyer referral systems.
- The system should be expandable to include future delivery modalities.
5. Cost Benefit and Impact Maximization
- The system should connect people to the highest level of access services assistance that is available to them, consistent with cost effectiveness.
- The system should allocate scarce assistance resources where they will have the biggest impact.
- The system should direct cases into routes and services that involve the least cost and inconvenience for both litigants and the system, consistent with a fair determination.
- The system should be transparent in the patterns of its operations, while providing privacy to individual users.
7. Evidence Based
- Individual service acceptance and priority criteria should be informed by and reflect research and ongoing data analysis.
- The system should be “self-learning” so that it provides better responses and improved outcomes, as there is more experience.
Suggestions for improvements and changes much appreciated. They will be part of an article I am working on.