Picture of the Melbourne Magistrates Court

Magistrates Court of Victoria

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) determines in excess of 300,000 cases per annum, which equates to around 90 percent of all cases that come before Victorian courts. MCV sought Luminary’s help to design a digital transformation of its services.

Background

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) handles approximately 90 percent of Victorian court cases, with more than 300,000 matters passing through its 51 venues every year. To deal with such a high volume of cases, over recent years MCV has embarked on a digital and service transformation to streamline how it provides its services to users. A significant aspect of this has been transitioning appropriate cases over to online hearings.  

In its endeavour to be an innovative, accessible and responsive court that provides quality services to the Victorian community, MCV sought to understand how its online presence could more effectively support the needs of court users. MCV needed a partner that could help it develop a digital strategy and functionality roadmap to define the optimal future digital experience for both court users and MCV itself.

Luminary was selected to undertake the project, with a focus on the website as the MCV’s ‘digital front door’.

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What we did

Laying the foundations

The starting point for the project was MCV’s goals to:

  • Create a future state design of the external user digital ecosystem
  • Make the court user journey as simple as possible – beginning with the website, to enable people to access key information, guidance and services to aid their experience with the court
  • Create easier pathways to manage low-risk cases online.

In addressing these goals, there were a number of challenges that needed to be taken into consideration, including recognition of the fact that there is no ‘general’ court user. The breadth of MCV’s services and the types of matters it hears mean that there is significant diversity among users, making it difficult to determine a ‘typical’ user journey.

In order to make the system accessible to all, it was necessary to simplify content to support all users for their day in court. The use of plain language, rather than legal jargon, was essential so that everyone could understand the process. 

There was also a need to elevate perceptions of online hearings to bring them into line with the gravitas associated with in-person hearings. 

With these issues in mind, Luminary’s task was to figure out how to use MCV’s digital ecosystem to enhance efficiency, transparency and user support. 

Picture of the MCV interface against a green background

The strategy and roadmapping process

Several key focus areas were ascertained from the outset:

The Online Magistrates’ Court – including elevating the online court experience and finding ways to incentivise people to take this pathway if it is deemed appropriate for their circumstances.

Centring the user – supporting users with plain language and personalised experiences to help them access services such as legal aid and interpreters, with SMS and email prompts to navigate the system.

Website hygiene - covering SEO and analytics best practices, Information Architecture and wireframing.  

Better outcomes for MCV - streamlining the triaging of users (i.e. ascertaining what their matter is about, and whether it would be appropriate for them to go through the online court).

Luminary then undertook a coordinated set of collaborative activities to create a digital strategy and roadmap for MCV, including:

  • Immersion workshop
  • Insights review
  • Analytics review
  • SEO review
  • Comparator review
  • Stakeholder interviews 
  • User interviews
  • Ideation workshop.
Picture of three lie graphics on a grey background

The outputs

At the end of the process, Luminary produced a set of recommendations to help MCV achieve its vision ‘to be an innovative and accessible court offering contemporary online services that support the delivery of fair, efficient and transparent justice’.

The recommendations were presented in the form of a digital roadmap, consisting of two parts: 

  • A Visual Digital Roadmap - with a holistic overview of features
  • A Feature List Spreadsheet - providing detailed descriptions and the strategic rationale behind each item listed on the visual roadmap.

The roadmap addresses each of the key focus areas, providing recommended tactics to address each area. For example, in relation to elevating the online court experience, it suggests establishing protocols and educating users on expectations, such as the need to find a quiet space to dial in from. Ultimately this roadmap will help guide MCV in building capability and functionality to support a best practice interactive digital experience for court users.

In addition to the roadmap, which focuses on an initial 3-year period, Luminary provided a Blue Sky Digital User Flow, highlighting an ideal future state for MCV and envisioning what a future court experience could ultimately look like.

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