Law Sites – Courts Disrupted: Pew Study Finds Pandemic Caused Courts to Revolutionize their Operations, But Says More Needs to be Done

The pandemic caused civil courts in the United States to adopt technology at an unprecedented pace and scale, improving participation in court proceedings and helping users resolve disputes more efficiently.

But this accelerated adoption of technology disproportionately benefited those who had legal representation, sometimes making the legal system more difficult to navigate for those who did not.

These are among the key findings of a report being released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts, How Courts Embraced Technology, Met the Pandemic Challenge, and Revolutionized Their Operations.

Prior to the pandemic, the report says, courts’ adoption of technology focused on discrete tasks rather than sweeping changes.

Pew researchers examined pandemic-related emergency orders issued by the supreme courts of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. They supplemented that review with an analysis of court approaches to virtual hearings, e-filing, and digital notarization, focusing on how these tools affected litigants in three of the most common types of civil cases: debt claims, evictions and child support.

The report lays out their findings and offers three recommendations for steps court officials should take to make their processes more open, equitable and efficient.

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CLSM Court Tech Methodological Appendix


How Courts Embraced Technology