Faced with a 17 percent ‘no show’ rate for legal advice appointments last year, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia built a secure file transfer portal to help its client’s access legal aid.
The portal, dubbed PhotoLegal, has been developed to allow SA residents to confidentially share information with the commission’s legal advisers without needing to attend appointments in person.
It also eliminates the risk of sending copies of sensitive documents using non-secure methods such as email.
Using end-to-end encryption, the portal can be used to upload and transmit images, PDF files and Word documents from any device.
Clients are granted access to the portal by their legal adviser using a random code that is generated using an open source library.
All data exchange through the portal is stored securely on Australian-based servers, and is password protected to ensure documents can only be viewed by their intended recipients.
Clients can also redact the documents prior to uploading them to ensure they remain anonymous throughout the process.
Once uploaded, the files can be viewed by legal advisers using the randomly generated code while providing guidance via phone or the online chat tool known as Legal Chat.
ROAM Creative built the portal using a mixture of Amazon Web Services products, including Cognito, DynamoDB and Lambda, based on the specification provided by the commission.
The portal was developed using a $35,000 grant from the Law Foundation of South Australia.
The commission considers the portal an Australian first, with other legal aid organisations across the states and territories yet to introduce such an offering.
It expects the portal will result in savings through a reduced non-attendance rate for face to face appointments, while also accelerating responses to requests for legal advice.
It is hoped that rural and remote clients in particularly will use the portal to avoid unnecessary travel.
This project is a finalist in the State Government category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020.