What we have seen this week with the #HMCTSdisruption is an example of what we have seen previously elsewhere: the unfortunate and unintended consequences of technology cannot be prevented (see our musings about this here).
While HMCTS continues to respond to calls from frantic lawyers, their clients and litigants in person, what we are witnessing is something that we predict will happen often as technology becomes further entrenched in the makeup of not just our justice systems, but more generally, our societies and the frameworks that support these societies.
Those commissioning the system(s) did not expect a digital scale and speed to the spread of usage because they assumed a gatekeeping role for professionals/help agencies based on the existing model. Big Bang is an unintended consequence when you have not deployed digital only service(s) with the public before. Scaleability is of course a key concern for system designers but they probably based their models on the old people and paper based system usage figures. The speed and scale of digital diffusion of awareness and action is not something they will have understood or anticipated.
On Twitter, we have seen a lot of anger, a lot of frustration and a lot of witch hunting… Twitter is just one platform and can we really trust it anyway as a platform that espouses truth? The answer is, unfortunately, no.
So what happened? Why is there little to no coverage? There is speculation that it is a failure due to server issues, a hack or DDOS infestation to be more precise, Brexit has even been mentioned. We fear that the answer may be slightly more terrifying — they don’t know…