Legal Access Challenge
Delivered by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Challenge is calling for legal tech startups, law firms, alternative legal providers, advice organisations and law schools to develop ambitious direct-to-user products, services and platforms.
A legal services market in which only one in three individuals – and one in ten small businesses – with a legal problem get expert advice isn’t working as well as it should be. In sector after sector digital technology has made life easier for customers, giving them more choice and control. In legal services though, technology has made less of an impact.
The £500,000 Legal Access Challenge is looking for innovative legal solutions that will help individuals and SMEs to better understand and resolve their legal problems. We want to see a legal services market which uses technology to make legal services more affordable and accessible, helping more people and SMEs get the legal help they need.
The Challenge has three aims:
- accelerating the development of products, services and platforms that will help individuals and SMEs understand and resolve their legal problems with greater ease;
- developing a community of people and organisations with a shared interest in implementing the use of technology to improve access to legal support who will share knowledge and ideas to improve customer outcomes in the legal services market; and
- learning whether there are regulatory barriers to the development and adoption of mass market legal technology solutions and, if so, what adaptations to the SRA’s approach might reduce these barriers.
The technologies used could include guided pathways, expert systems, chatbots, automated document assembly, natural language processing, machine learning and online dispute resolution platforms. This is an open call though, and we welcome new ideas beyond what is currently available in the market.
We are not expecting any quick fixes. Bringing user-facing solutions to the legal services market will take time. As well as helping Challenge participants accelerate their progress in 2019/20, we want to work with a wider coalition of experts and organisations to create longer term change in the market.