free your darlings

I imagine the basic functionality of the Kanban board to be something like this. Filters in the header are use...

I imagine the basic functionality of the Kanban board to be something like this. Filters in the header are used to narrow down the scope of the board so that one can find information of interest. Both sub-filters and the board will adapt based on what initial filters have been applied. I am not very familiar with the legal lingo or legal processes so consider this a rough sketch.

Published: 2022-09-05

Legal system Kanban

A lot of the news we consume is crime related. There are so many articles about the horrible crimes committed around us that it is hard to keep track of which are new incidents and which are just updates on a previously reported crimes. Sometimes it is because of bad journalism but most of the time the problem is built into the way we consume news online. There is no proper timeline anymore and everything is constantly re-arranged according to what gets the most clicks. Sometimes follow-up articles are canceled by the media, or get lost in the algorithms after release, as new crimes to write about emerge. One could of course follow a case in the public legal records, but I think juridical parlance is not for everyone and I'm not sure it provides a good overview either.

In Sweden, where I live, shootings and other serious crime is through the roof at the moment. I imagine the Swedish police have whiteboards overflowing with unsolved murders like in HBO’s The Wire. Or, since this is Sweden, they might have some overpriced dysfunctional IT-system funded by us tax payers to handle the cases. This Kanban idea of mine will not solve the problems the police have, it is for us citizens to get an idea of the extent of the situation we are in. The police might have use for the Kanban as well but it is not the main idea.


Kanban was originally invented as a way to increase efficiency in work processes by breaking down the workload into smaller clearly defined tasks. The Kanban board is a way of displaying the state of each task as well as the overall progress. I think the Kanban board could be an excellent way of viewing the progress of the legal system.

Kanban described in more detail by Wikipedia here.

The idea is to set up a website with a Kanban board that covers all serious crime reported to the police. The board will follow the reported incidents through in the legal system. States like investigation started, suspects identified, trial started, verdicts and appeals are represented by lanes on the board. The cards on the board each represent a reported crime / incident and can only be in one lane at the time. Incident cards will be updated with additional information and moved to new lanes as the legal process progress. Links on each card lead to official documents, news articles and other information available about the incident. This way we can all get a project leader's or product owner's view of the current legal situation in our country. Information such as dropped cases or investigations closed due to lack of evidence also needs to be clearly marked on the board to provide an overall picture.

I'm using Sweden as an example for this Kanban idea, but any small country or state could probably do the same. More populous countries or states might have to be divided into smaller units so that the board does not overflow. Filters like area, date span, type of crime and much more can be used to narrow down cards on the board match what you are after. With well-defined lanes and metrics you can customize personal notifications and get notified when cases you are interested in are updated. The board is not about exposing individuals. There are other sites for that already. This site is to provide an overview of the legal system and to follow cases. Even if this board does not present any names it can connect and highlight an individual over several cards when he/she appears as either a witness, suspect or a victim in other cases. Seeing the connections is an important aspect of understanding the criminal environments.

Here is an example of a cumulative flow diagram of an IT-project. Similar charts could be used to visualize pr...

Here is an example of a cumulative flow diagram of an IT-project. Similar charts could be used to visualize progress in the legal system and to get some data on where our society is headed. This GIF is from an example by Trello provides very simple to use Kanban-boards for your projects.

Of course we have crime statistics in Sweden already. But most of the time we only get part of the picture, as the data is selected either by click seeking journalists or authorities with an agenda. It does not always align with what people want to know or should know. Generating graphs directly from the legal system data means we could get the information straight from the horse's mouth.

The image above is an example of data extracted from a Kanban board. I would love to be able to follow statistics like solved crimes, closed investigations, convictions etc over time. To see if things are going in the right direction.

As far as I know, criminal records and data from the legal system in Sweden are publicly and digitally available. With some exceptions and bureaucratic loops I'm sure, but it should not be too tricky to set up and organize the Kanban board more or less automatically. Linking to news articles and handling corner cases is of course extra work. Hopefully not too much. Maybe it is even a one man show for someone who is really dedicated. Is this a job for you or someone you know? Please share this article to help me find someone who can set this up.


Legal system Kanban

Creating a custom Kanban board is not complicated for a web developer like me. Setting up some sort of data importer system should not be too much work either. One big question is to what level automation is possible. Some investigation is needed. Fine tuning the user interface might be some work too.

I have excluded the maintenance part of this project. Todo and cost estimate only covers setting up the system.

10% Done
  • Present the idea (this article)
  • Investigate publicly available legal data
  • Data visualization and presentation design
  • Board UI/UX design
  • Develop board/website
  • Setup statistics and charts
  • Setup data importer
  • Launch website / board


  • Explore data import options $4 000
  • Data presentation design $8 000
  • UI/UX $4 000
  • Website / board development $4 000
  • Charts / statistics setup $6 000
  • Setup data importer $4 000
  • Total $30 000