Friends and family could be encouraged to download an advice app to ensure access to justice, according to a law centre.

The app is one of five ideas mooted in Hackney Community Law Centre’s report, Finding better problems for better solutions, unveiled at a ‘digital summit’ event at Hackney Town Hall.

Co-author Mark Brown, development director at social enterprise organisation Social Spider CIC, told the event that legal advisers were the ‘last person [people with a problem] want to talk to’.

The report states that the phone app would be kept up to date with 'push' information and be ready any time that someone wanted to seek help.

Other ideas include developing a mechanism for handling advice questions by email, and developing a way of managing the workflow involved.

The report states: ‘We looked at this as a potential way of leveraging volunteer time as a resource in Hackney.

‘Currently, while there may be people willing to volunteer their time to assist in delivering advice services in the borough, their ability to contribute their time is limited by a mismatch between the times they are available and the times that advice services providers are available to enable them.’     

A pre-appointment ‘prep’ or communication would ensure clients brought the correct documents to the first appointment.

Hackney has been at the forefront of finding ways of using technology to increase efficiency, taking part in a digital pilot to provide members of the public with direct access to a barrister and partnering with LawTech community organisation Legal Geek for the first LawTech hackathon.

Legal Geek founder Jimmy Vestbirk told the event that a second hackathon will take place later this year around access to justice.