I think I may have been guilty of thinking about the relationship of triage, court simplification and expansion of non-lawyer roles the wrong way round.
I have basically been saying something like this:
For each case, we should do triage, look at the tasks the person has to do, decide what kind of expert, if any, is needed to do them, and then route the case appropriately. We may then seek to simplify the system so that this works better. We may also then ask if a less trained person could do the job, and who that might be.
But maybe what we should be doing, is deciding what kind of skills and training (if any) we want we think should be need to handle particular kinds of situations, and then simplify the courts, and train the helpers, so that that becomes viable. Some processes for some situations should be designed to have minimal help in most factual circumstances. Others to provide whatever additional is needed at particular steps in the process.
For example, uncontested equal-power divorces really should need no help. So the processes should be designed so anyone can navigate them. But significantly unequal power divorces need processes that lay the groundwork well for the use of the ongoing monitored coercive power of the state. They also need the mechanisms to ensure that all the facts are gathered and presented properly. A lawyer maybe, but certainly those with the skills to manage their clients on both sides of the dispute (very different skills), and a process that works with and supports those skills. Each of these roles may be designed very differently from the traditional lawyer.
Our general mistake has been thinking about triage on the assumption that the court’s process is fixed and unchangeable. We have also thought about new legal assistance roles as being defined by particular situations, rather than designing the processes so that they can work best with the skills really needed.
The basic idea is simple. Do not treat the court process as a given. Do not treat the roles as given. Design them so they can work with whatever skills and help would be most appropriate in the situtation.