Justice Data Matters Evaluation

Justice Lab (at The Legal Education Foundation)

Connected by Data was been commissioned by Justice Lab (a special initiative of the Legal Education Foundation) to conduct an evaluation of the public deliberation exercise that led to the report Justice Data Matters: Building a public mandate for court data use in order to surface lessons for similar future exercises within and outside the UK justice system.

Between September and October 2022 we carried out interviews, looking at the literature on similar exercises, and produced a detailed report for Justice Lab to plan future work embedding public voice into the governance of justice data. We also organised a workshop to explore next steps for the Justice Lab as it aims to embed public participation into the governance of justice data.

In 2022, Justice Lab, a special initiative of The Legal Education Foundation commissioned Ipsos UK to carry out public attitudes research and a public deliberation exercise about the commercial use of data in court records, and particularly bulk access to court judgments. This was intended to inform the work of the Shadow Senior Data Governance Panel and the governance of data made available through a new Find Case Law service, managed by The National Archives, providing access to court judgments.

This evaluation examines the effectiveness of this project, to understand how to fill gaps in existing research and identify lessons to be learned for similar exercises in the future. We carried out a review of the project reports and documentation, 10 semi-structured interviews with a range of stakeholders, and desk research on other public dialogue and deliberation exercises and recognised best practices.

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On 6th March 2023, CONNECTED BY DATA organised a workshop for Justice Lab (an initiative of the Legal Education Foundation), to explore the next steps they should take around their work to increase public participation in the governance of data within the justice system.

The workshop brought together researchers, civil society advocates and campaigners, journalists and practitioners to explore the questions:

  • What does it take to make work in this space influential?
  • What topics are most likely to generate buy-in?
  • What methodological approaches are most effective for influencing decision making?
  • Who needs to be engaged when developing public engagement research, and how?
  • Which decision makers/decision points should work in this space target? E.g. decisions about the way data is created, or how data is used?
  • What’s the communications strategy around the work needed to achieve impact?

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