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Design thinking and the courts

The Centre’s first Design Thinking and the Law Seminar ‘Re-imagining Legal Service Delivery’ was held in Shepparton in late July. 

Design Thinking and The Law workshop pioneers

The seminar was conducted in partnership with Court Services Victoria and delivered by award-winning design thinking educators and researchers: RMIT’s Professor Ingo Karpen, a lecturer in the Graduate School of Business and Law’s Executive MBA program and a co-editor of the recently released Strategic Design, Eight Essential Practices Every Strategic Designer Must Master, and Patrick Sharbaugh, a Senior Program Director with the LUMA Institute, a global leader in design thinking instruction.  Ingo, Patrick and the CIJ’s Mark Madden consulted widely across the justice system to ensure the seminar was tailored to the needs of participants.

The two-day seminar introduced participants to the basic principles, processes and practices of design thinking, and then brought their ideas and creativity to bear on some of the key challenges facing our justice system, courts and tribunals through hands on experience. The first day focused on design thinking, mindset and methods and how to apply them across various legal contexts and challenges, including an examination of a ‘self-help kit’, the experience of a victim of family violence, and recent statistics on reoffending which questioned the effectiveness of the justice system.  The second day focussed attention on a ‘concrete’ challenge, that is, service delivery at the new Shepparton Law Courts which began with a tour of the construction site. This provided an opportunity to re-imagine and re-design how legal services might be delivered in a multi-jurisdictional law court, and to pose some interesting questions including whether courts should be seen a service or a place, and whether the legal system risked fossilising out-dated processes and services in a layer of expensive new technology by not utilizing design thinking principles in the delivery. The day also included a powerful interview with VLA lawyer, Acacia Burns, who previously worked at the Shepparton Law Courts, and who was able to talk not only about her experience as a lawyer but the experience of her clients, including victims of family violence.