Online legal aid eligibility checker still runs only on Internet Explorer

Written by Sam Trendall on 15 June 2018 in News
News

No current plans to update service that only works consistently on long-retired browser that cannot be downloaded onto Android and Apple products

Credit: Thomas Schanz/CC BY-SA 3.0

Five years after the final release of Internet Explorer, the online tool allowing people to check if they are eligible for civil legal aid still only works correctly on Microsoft’s former browser.

The Legal Aid Agency took to Twitter this week to remind users wishing to use the Civil Legal Aid Eligibility Checker that they should only do so on Internet Explorer. Using other browsers is liable to deliver “inconsistent results”, the LAA indicated. 

A number of legal professionals and other Twitter users criticised the agency for its failure to provide a service that works on contemporary browsers.

“You might as well demand people access it via a typewriter,” said one.

“I think they should upgrade to an eligibility abacus,” added another.


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In a statement issued to PublicTechnology, a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Agency said: “The civil legal aid eligibility calculator was developed over a decade ago, when Internet Explorer was far more dominant in the UK browser market and prior to the widespread adoption of smartphones. Those looking to use the calculator are able to download Internet Explorer free of charge in order to do so.”

The spokesperson added: “The browsers on which the calculator works will be considered as part of any wider review of digital services at the LAA.”

All but the last version of Internet Explorer are no longer supported by Microsoft. That final release – Internet Explorer 11, which debuted in 2013 – cannot be installed on Apple and Android machines. 

But, although they cannot install it directly, Apple and Android users can run websites in an IE11 environment by using a remote-access tool designed for developers to test on the retired browser.

Having once dominated the market, Internet Explorer now accounts for just 5.5% of UK browser use. Chrome is way out in front on 48.2%, ahead of Safari on 29.5%, according to data from Statcounter. Edge, Microsoft’s successor to Internet Explorer, which was first released in 2015, has a 4.77% market share. Samsung Internet is on 2.67%.

Current Government Digital Service guidelines stipulate that government services must be tested and found to work and appear in full on a range of different browsers on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This includes the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, as well as Internet Explorer 11. Earlier this year, Samsung Internet was also added to the list of browsers for government services to be tested on.

Civil legal aid covers help with non-criminal cases, such as family disputes, breach of contract, employment issues, housing problems, discrimination, and personal injury.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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