Decision Making at the Firm Level: The of a Criminal Legal Aid Case Management System

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Abstract:

The Criminal Legal Aid System, in Scotland as in England, is under severe economic strain. A key element in the legal profession's response should be reliance on IT in improving the efficiency of criminal legal aid case management. This paper is a work-in-progress report on our involvement (under a Teaching Company Scheme Project) with a Glasgow criminal practice and their use of an existing case management and automation tool. Although the focus of the research is on improving the scope of the present system, our work has involved us in an exploration of decision-making processes at the level of the firm and the role of computerisation and automation at all levels in the firm. More specifically, our investigations focus on the interaction of the fee earners and paralegals in the use they make of information and how, applying management science techniques, they could improve on that use. This in turn led to a reconsideration of how the case management system uses information available to the differing levels of “decision makers” within the firm. This creates an interesting contrast with the “decision making” process at the level of adjudication.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13600860050033023

Affiliations: 1: Management Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow 2: Division of Law, Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow 3: Jim Friel & Co., Glasgow

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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