In February 2022 UWE hosted a day of Justice Innovation Challenge, bringing together people with interests in law and tech to work on some of the challenges identified in our November 2021 workshop with legal clinics and advice centres. Two of the ideas, UMBRELLA & WHAT’S MY FORM, were then developed further with tech support from UWE students.
This was the introduction to the workshop from Rachel Wood of UWE’s Business and Law Clinic:
The teams were asked to focus on one of the challenges identified in the November workshop:
To sum up, the five challenges identified were:
- Human Resources – shortage of trained legal advisors and volunteers to run law clinics
- Clients are passed around advice organisations to others with the correct expertise but who don’t have the capacity to support them
- Document Management – the legal sector relies on commercial software or very basic spreadsheets and online storage. New staff/volunteers need training to use systems, which have often grown to be inefficient
- Public legal education – citizens are often unaware of their legal rights and entitlements, and do not know if their problem is a legal one or where to find the answers they need to resolve an issue.
- Legal Service Providers are inaccessible – due to limited resources, eg staff and opening times, location, and clients unable to access them online
The Innovation Challenge Day was held online using Zoom due to ongoing covid restrictions, which was frustrating but did allow people from further afield to engage with the day.
Teams were curated in advance to create mixes of tech and legal expertise and a slack group was set up to offer the opportunity for participants to discuss the issues and connect with their teams in advance (and afterwards). Teams were given a few days to polish their presentations post-workshop and upload them for judging.
Video announcement of Winning Teams:
Every participant who completed the challenge received a £25 gift voucher to say thank you, and two of the teams received a nominal amount for their time to develop their ideas with tech support from UWE students.
The two ideas that were developed to a proof of concept were Umbrella and What’s My Form. Click HERE for more info about the projects.
Relevant resources we shared before the workshops:
The WECA REPORT on Legal Tech 2021 in SW UK for another viewpoint on some of the challenges around access to justice.
And finally, we found these existing Access to Justice Projects inspirational:
Home – The Access To Justice Foundation (atjf.org.uk)
LawWorks | The Solicitors Pro Bono Group
Law For Life | Advicenow
nb Please note that these charities are funded by voluntary contributions and whilst they generously provide resources to increase access to legal advice you cannot copy the content. If you find the resources useful please also consider making a donation to these charities. Thank you.
The Justice Challenge is part of a wider partnership established thanks to the Solicitors Regulation Authority securing a grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Regulators Pioneer Fund (RPF2). The partnership seeks to address regional inequalities in access to justice, by demonstrating the feasibility of new legal technology tools.
In partnership with: