Annex A. Service mapping methodology

The service mapping focused on three specific areas of justice claims before and after a justice claim officially starts at court:

1. Simplified procedure: Refers to claims up to EUR 2 500, with a particular focus on debtor claims.

2. Warning procedure: Focuses on warning procedures (Part 50.1 of Civil Procedure Law). This procedure works for smaller claims and depends on the debtor’s acknowledgement of the debt or inactivity. Basically, the court rules for the creditor if the debtor does not object to the claim.

3. Consumer claims: The scope of this third area was decided by the Latvian government, building on insights gathered from a survey and focus group session with business representatives. For the purpose of this report, consumer claims arise from consumer law and encompass conflicts between a person who has acquired goods or services from another person or entity acting within their economic or professional capacity.

The OECD conducted a workshop that aimed to help the Latvian government identify a third type of case relevant to the Latvian context to be mapped and apply the OECD Online Dispute Resolution Framework (OECD ODR Framework). To make this exercise efficient, a questionnaire was circulated in advance of the meeting to gather business views and nurture the discussions during the workshop. The tool used was Microsoft Forms.

A questionnaire with potential questions to be asked during the focus group workshop was also circulated to businesses so they could reflect and be prepared for the workshop. Businesses were encouraged to share any relevant documents before or after the meeting. The workshop was also intended to be a good opportunity to capture some of the businesses’ impressions and needs on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), with a focus on online dispute resolution (ODR), prior to fact-finding interviews.

After careful consideration, the Latvian government decided on consumer claims and communicated to the OECD Secretariat following the workshop. The legal, institutional and user perspective lens, described below, was carried out once the Latvian government communicated its decision on the third area of focus.

As mentioned above, in addition to the application of the OECD ODR Framework, the assessment focused on three priority areas: simplified and warning procedures and consumer claims. The assessment looked into legal and institutional frameworks, the use of digital tools, as well as processes and service delivery, applying both the institutional and users’ (people and business) perspectives.

The mapping made it possible to explore the possibility of introducing ODR in the three areas of focus, identifying specific bottlenecks and opportunities in the use of digital technologies and data to streamline processes and develop a more user-friendly justice pathway.

The Court Administration offered to prepare descriptive notes, covering all three types of cases and applying all three lenses, building on their in-house knowledge. Three sessions, each dedicated to a specific area of focus, were carried out to discuss the notes and allowed local consultants and the OECD team to ask questions. Written notes synthesised the key findings from the institutional perspective.

Building on the notes, the OECD team organised over 20 fact-finding interviews with key institutions to deepen understanding of the institutional perspective and compare it with the users’ views and experiences. Moreover, local consultants conducted additional research and complemented the institutional mapping with relevant information.

With the help of the Latvian government, groups of users – public institutions (justice officials such as judges and officers) and people/businesses (business associations, lawyers, mediation centres, chamber of commerce, investment council, legal aid office) – contributed to the activities on user perspective for processes and services. This work was led by the OECD team alongside international experts and local consultants. In addition, the Court Administration helped identify a group of users (based on service providers' data for each area of focus) consulted through a survey as well as focus group discussion to gather first-hand evidence.

The OECD identified promising practices and opportunities to simplify and use digital technologies and data for enhanced user experience with ODR. The analysis integrated perspectives and compared experiences of various groups, including average claimants and vulnerable segments of the population.

Institutional perspective – the “how”

Desk research and analysis of relevant legal acts were conducted to explore the legal basis and procedure for each specific type of case. The analysis covered civil procedure, commercial and consumer protection laws and Cabinet of Ministers regulations, among other relevant legal instruments.

This exercise also looked into the role of institutions involved in the dispute resolution process and services provided. The institutional analysis also sought to highlight the existing co-ordination mechanisms, internal processes, interoperability of systems and data exchange protocols across different stakeholders. The mapping prepared by the Latvian government was complemented by fact-finding interviews that ensured the analysis of all relevant points. The analysis identified procedural limits, institutional bottlenecks and opportunities to introduce and further enhance the use of ODR and other digital tools.

Users’ perspective – the “how”

The legal/institutional analysis from a user’s perspective sought to identify whether users (people and businesses) are capable, and how, of understanding pathways to justice, notably ADR and ODR.

With the support of local consultants and the Court Administration, the OECD identified a list of interviewees (lawyers, mediation centres, legal aid, legal clinics), prepared a draft list of questions and organised fact-finding interviews to explore, among others, how users perceived the clarity of laws and procedures, what their experiences were with public institutions and what support and guidance was offered.

Additional desk research and information from the Latvian government identified guidelines, communication campaigns and methods adopted to inform the population in a clear and accessible manner about their rights and justice pathways through digital and non-digital means.

Institutional perspective – the “how”

A thorough mapping of processes and services was produced considering internal processes and services.

Users’ perspective – the “how”

Fact-finding interviews following a “customer journey” method were organised to assess people’s and businesses’ capacity to address their legal and justice needs.

The mapping of the users’ perspective in the processes and services engaged a diverse group of interviewees (as above, lawyers, mediation centres, legal aid, legal clinics, etc. and services “close” to people, representing their interests, etc.) to understand the pathways to resolving disputes from accessing services (analogue or digital), courts and enforcement.

Institutional perspective – the “how”

Desk research and information from Latvian counterparts led to a better understanding of the state of play of digitalisation in the Latvian justice sector.

Fact-finding interviews with institutions helped identify opportunities and challenges in the usage of digital technologies and data at the institutional level and in processes and service delivery. Drawing on the findings, the team identified how digital technologies and data could be used to improve services and processes from an institutional perspective.

Users’ perspective – the “how”

Focus group discussions and fact-finding interviews shed light on users’ levels of digital skills, accessibility to digital services and their needs.

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