Advanced online software that eliminates the need for lawyers and courts to resolve cases is the next wave of technology, according to law experts who are already seeing the systems being used around the country.
Silicon Valley software development Company Modria has developed software already in use that allows people to bypass expensive and time consuming preliminary court procedures and arbitration.
"There is a version of the future when computers get so good that we trust them to play this role in our society, and it lets us get justice to more people because it's cheaper and more transparent," said Modria's co-founder Colin Rule.
Ohio Officials already use the software for tax assessment disputes, and the Arbitration Association in New York has used it to settle medical claims arising from car crashes.
In Holland the software is used in divorce cases. It asks couples questions about parental support, custody issues and areas of agreement, making suggestions based on law and results of court arbitrated divorce cases. If the couples reach an agreement based on these suggestions, they print up divorce papers developed by the software and simply file them at the courthouse.
Modria's chief marketing officer Larry Friedberg said "hundreds of couples have gone through the system since it launched in February."
Oliver Goodenough, Center for Legal Innovation at Vermont Law School Director said "We're not quite at the Google car stage in law, but there are no conceptual or technical barriers to what we're talking about."
He said currently the Modria software could relieve overburdened court systems of small claims cases, traffic fines, and some family law matters, but in the future it could be used for more complicated disputes.
Michigan courts are using software developed by another company, Court Innovations, to resolve traffic disputes in four court districts in the State.
American Bar Association recommended law expert and law professor at Tennessee's Vanderbilt Law School, Larry Bridgesmith, said technology could provide legal support to those people who could not afford people lawyers and the court system.
"The technology won't do away with attorneys, but it will require them to adapt," he said. "If lawyers begin to understand that those are tools they can use to lower the costs of entry into the legal system ... they can get back in the business of serving clients who are presently not served."