In 2014, Queensland introduced a Pleading Guilty Online (PGO) system to allow people charged with relatively minor traffic offences to plead guilty through an internet portal. This article argues that the system prioritises efficiency over justice, and ignores the barriers faced by many people who come into contact with the justice system, including literacy, language and communication problems. The simplicity of the online platform belies the fairness and certainty that is common (and often challenged) in online contracts, and there are inadequate protections to authenticate user identity. In addition, the system removes the informed and contextualised decision- making of a magistrate, including the appropriateness of any penalty. This article concludes that the PGO system could lead to unfair outcomes. As such, the system should recognise the vulnerability of some users, should not be expanded to other offences, and should be improved to collect more informa- tion.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|