One website is simply not enough these days. And so I have been working on a little side project (to the enormous detriment of my yet-to-be-begun redesign of poor old Pink Tape).
Ladies and Gentlebugs, may I present to you the lucyreed.co.uk public access website. Perty ain't it?
A word or two about the why.
Because we at the bar are pretty inefficient when it comes to direct access enquiries. They take up lots and lots of clerking time, to the intense irritation of our lovely clerks, and rarely bear fruit. Many cases are unsuitable, a high proportion of enquiries are sent on a whim (the perils of easy clicking) and are not seriously pursued, particularly when money is mentioned), and others cannot be processed speedily enough to deal with a time sensitive issue, because the process of information gathering is not streamlined. This means lots of wasted time and effort for me, my clerks AND most importantly, for litigants in person frantically shopping around for some help, buzzing around the internet in a cloud of confusion.
So this website is designed to do two things : to inform and to triage. If a client properly understands public access before they make an enquiry (and in my experience they are utterly bewildered by it) then they may form a view its not for them and be diverted away from a pointless enquiry. If they do make an enquiry they are able to make it on an informed basis, and understanding their own responsibility with respect to the conduct of their case.
And in order to make an enquiry a litigant must answer some basic questions about their case and what they want from me. So the first contact I get contains the information I really need rather than the information a client thinks I need. If I can tell it's not suitable from the outset that's that. Nobody hanging around drumming fingers waiting for an answer. If it is suitable we can get off to a running start with the basic information gathered at the outset.
I think that's what annoying management speakers call "Win Win" (yeurk). I know there are people I can help through public access - and hopefully this website will help me find them, and them find me.
We'll see how it goes. It might not work. I'd welcome feedback, likes and shares.