The digital transformation of the UK’s legal sector is to be backed by a significant uplift in government funding – keeping it at the global forefront of innovation.
A new £4 million investment will deliver a second phase of the LawtechUK programme, supporting modernisation through the development of new technology like machine learning and data analytics tools.
This will help ensure the UK retains its competitive global edge, create jobs and boost access to legal services for individuals and businesses through technology.
LawtechUK is a government-backed initiative, launched in 2019, with an initial £2 million investment to transform the UK legal sector through technology, providing resources, programmes and courses to promote new ways of delivering and accessing legal services via digital solutions.
Justice Minister Lord Bellamy QC said:
A thriving lawtech sector will help ensure the UK continues as a world-leading legal services centre and attracts the very best talent.
This investment will support the market to develop the technology it needs to drive modernisation and deliver first-class legal services.
The LawtechUK programme has been delivered by growth platform Tech Nation in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the LawtechUK Panel, a board of industry experts.
The previous funding for Tech Nation has already seen results like the launch of the Lawtech Sandbox – a research and development programme for UK entrepreneurs and start-ups to test and develop products or services looking to address the legal needs of businesses and society.
One start-up to benefit from the sandbox is Legal Utopia, an app designed to help people understand their legal issues and access lawyers.
Director of LawtechUK Alexandra Lennox said:
Technology has the potential to transform business’ and peoples’ experience of law, meet unmet legal needs and support professionals to deliver the next generation of legal services.
We have seen great progress towards this future since LawtechUK’s inception and this next phase of funding will build on those important foundations, helping cement the UK’s position as a global hub for technology and law.
Lawtech Amplified Global also participated in the Sandbox.
Founder of Amplified Global Minesh Patel said:
Accelerators, incubators and sandboxes are a lifeline for start-ups bringing novel solutions into the market. It’s fantastic to hear about the next series of MoJ funding, which will enable pioneering solutions to push the boundaries within the legal space.
Without the Lawtech Sandbox, an organisation of our size and stage would have found it really difficult to be working, or even engaging, with a telecoms giant and the cross section of stakeholders and regulators that we did.
The LawtechUK programme has rapidly accelerated our growth and helped us to get the product to market quicker than we could have ever imagined.
LawtechUK aims to improve understanding and awareness of legal technology and has produced a free online learning and research hub as well as a website to allow the sharing of experiences of remote alternatives to traditional court hearings.
The investment will also continue to support and promote the work of the LawtechUK’s Jurisdiction Taskforce to ensure English law keeps pace with technological developments – helping the UK to maintain its place as an international hub for emerging technologies. This builds on previous work to increase market understanding of smarter contracts and digital assets by showcasing real life examples of where these technologies are being used.
Tech Nation will continue to deliver the LawtechUK programme until December 2023. Details of a competitive process to award the next stage of funding will be announced in the autumn. The new provider will deliver the programme from January 2023 to March 2025.