Legal design is the use of design principles to improve legal practice and the pursuit of justice as a whole. The end purpose of legal design is to make legal systems, products and services more user-friendly, not just for legal practitioners such as judges, lawyers and their staff, but for their clients as well.

Why Legal Design? 

Currently, legal systems around the world are outdated. The way services and products are delivered vary, depending on the practitioner’s preference and on the system in place. As a result, the law and its processes are not always easily understood by the general public. Sharing legal information among legal practitioners, and between the legal systems of different jurisdictions, also leaves much to be desired, especially in developing countries where many legal systems are still paper-based.

Even the application of legal principles in commerce is still seen as intimidating by most consumers. Terms and conditions and privacy policies are mostly hard to understand from the perspective of an ordinary consumer, which can give rise to inadvertent legal complications. All of this could be different if changes are made to the legal system to make it easier to use and to understand.

What Is Good Legal Design? 

Legal design aims to make the law more user-friendly and better understood. This includes helping the average person become more skillful at navigating the legal process, as well as making the sources of legal information more accessible to users.

Good legal design also involves building step-by-step processes that show the start and end points clearly to be able to help users see the results they are trying to achieve. This process-based approach can be applied to various aspects of legal practice, from the evidence-gathering process employed by legal counsels, to helping clients envision the steps included in building, filing and hearing their cases, and identifying the players involved in each step.

Improved Communication is Key

Good legal design also helps foster a collaborative approach between lawyers and clients, especially when it comes to providing the right amount of transparency needed for the latter to play a larger role in the protection of their rights. This means streamlining communication channels and making use of technology to ensure the speedy and accurate sharing of information.

Contract Insight – Supporting Good Legal Design

At Four, we deploy a contract management system called Contract Insight, which can support good legal design by keeping a check on the legal robustness of every contract a company signs. This requires clever workflow to streamline the whole process, from before a supplier is selected through contract award, negotiation and renewal. Contract Insight also handles ancillary activities, so the organisation is not legally exposed. Plus, the supplier (employee or client) is monitored to make sure they provide the service promised, in line with expectations, the contract and any regulations.

It goes without saying that security is a priority when it comes to contract management. Whatever system you’ve got, it must safeguard appropriate levels of access, confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.  Contract Insight provides security at individual document level, with access control allowed by person, group, location, business unit or companywide. The result is an extremely high level of security, suitable for most organisations. Our cloud solution fully complies with ISO 27001 certification, (Information Security Management Standard), and we keep our standards bang up to date, every year.

Legal design is one of the newest fields in law but it’s significant.  The availability of technology and ease of access to information makes legal advocacies more dynamic and collaborative. Good legal design can streamline processes and ensure that the system is optimised to benefit all players, especially the clients.

If you’d like a free trial to understand how Contract Insight can ensure your legal robustness and boost your security, please call us on 0800 6250 025.

John O’Brien is the CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain & Operations, across a broad range of industries.