Law in user-friendly format – Procopé & Hornborg’s mobile app as an example
It is easier to comply with legislation when you understand what it says. Procopé & Hornborg has created an app for its clients that helps personnel to act in accordance with competition legislation.
According to many, legal texts are so called officialese, hard to understand and generally poor language. Also internationally, readability is such an important topic that legal design has been a significant theme for a few years now. Technological assistive tools are also starting to make their way into the market.
An app to ease learning experience
One example of Procopé & Hornborg’s investments in legal design and technology work is the Dawn Raid App, which is designed to assist in preparation for dawn raids as well as making a raid go as smoothly possible. The Dawn Raid App guides you to act accordingly during the raid.
“Raids are chaotic situations for the company. During a raid, it is important to act accordingly especially so that misleading information is not given and the authorities’ raids are not being slowed down or hindered. Even procedural infringements can lead to a substantial fine”, says Lotta Uusitalo, partner specialized in competition law.
Client can download the app on a mobile phone for instance so that easy-to-understand information is always on hand. There are learning materials, different kinds of test questions, and practical instructions in the app.
Sometimes instructions relating to dawn raids are on documents, for example attached to the company´s other competition law code of conduct. The app makes the learning experience more convenient and efficient. “For myself as well, this has been a very interesting project where I have gotten to produce information on such topic in an easily understandable form. This has really forced me to abandon all officialese”, says Uusitalo.
Legal design helps to understand documents better
Every one of us faces complicated legal texts for instance every time they start the use of a new digital software. Terms and conditions are usually so difficult that nearly one hundred percent of citizens accept them without reading them. That choice is logical because only few possess the capabilities to understand or the time to read them.
A contract that is difficult to understand may lead to unpleasant surprises when a customer for example seeks compensation for an insured event. If you have not fully understood the content of the contract when entering into it, one may have false expectations.
User-friendliness is rarely a priority when contract terms are being made.
“Even if the terms are very specific, they can be designed to be more user-friendly by revising the language and visualizing them properly”, says Uusitalo.
User-friendliness does not only mean that the contract is made easier for the reader. Well-designed contract is also helpful when the contract is being updated.
“Legal design has a special role with compliance programs which are guidelines for complying with legislation. Documents that are purely in a word-format may be lengthy and their key message can be difficult to understand. Well-designed guidelines are an important tool for risk management.
In that sense too, legal design helps to enhance the reading experience and to remember the most important things the staff must keep in mind on daily basis in the workplace.
“Understanding legal language is an essential requirement for personnel to be able to comply with legislation. Even if the company violates the Finnish Competition Act accidentally, it may lead to a substantial fine and a lot of bad reputation for the company. It is crucial that employees understand and remember what it is all about. Actually, it is about producing the highest level of information package, with the user in mind”, says Uusitalo.