LawtechUK, the government-backed initiative powered by Tech Nation to help transform the UK legal sector through technology, has today announced their partners for the Lawtech Sandbox pilot and the SME Dispute Resolution Platform, two key projects that were announced in May 2020.
Jenifer Swallow, Director of LawtechUK at Tech Nation comments: “We are delighted with the response to our RFPs and the quality and quantity of organisations who responded. It has been great to see the level of capability and commitment, which is an encouraging sign for lawtech and transformation of the legal sector overall. This made for two tough decisions, but we are glad to have selected excellent partners who bring a range of strengths and experience to these foundational projects, and we thank everyone who engaged through the process. We look forward to building on the energy to date, to move the Lawtech Sandbox and SME DR Platform forward with our partners towards delivery.
The Lawtech Sandbox aims to enable greater innovation in the legal sector and accelerate the development of advanced methods of legal services delivery. After a rigorous procurement process, London headquartered PA Consulting has been selected as the partner to help design and establish a pilot version of the Lawtech Sandbox, with the aim for it to be ready for testing by the end of the year. PA Consulting will bring their experience of working on the Financial Conduct Authority, Civil Aviation Authority, and Information Commissioner’s Office sandboxes, to help achieve these aims.
Chris Burn, Innovation and Regulatory expert at PA Consulting comments: “At PA Consulting we believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. With our 77-year history of pioneering innovation we are pleased to be supporting LawtechUK in their design of a sandbox to accelerate innovation in the UK legal sector, with the ambition of driving the development of new and advanced methods of legal service delivery using technology.”
SME Dispute Resolution Platform
The procurement process for the SME Dispute Resolution Platform has also now come to a conclusion. LawtechUK received a total of 17 bids for the SME Dispute Resolution Platform, with the submissions displaying a high standard of excellence, depth of experience and capability; it points to a great degree of interest in advancement of the sector overall.
LawtechUK are delighted to announce that researchers from The University of Oxford, Oxford Computer Consultants, Resolve Disputes Online, and Jur have been selected to carry out the feasibility study and proof of concept development.
Jenifer comments: “We see a significant opportunity to address through technology the needs of SMEs facing disputes, and apply a new approach to dispute resolution that puts business owners at the heart of the process. Getting started with the feasibility study takes us a step closer to meeting that opportunity.”
The consortium brings together partners from industry and academia, with extensive and diverse experience in research, online dispute resolution, project delivery, and innovative technology, in the UK and internationally. The feasibility study for the SME Dispute Resolution Platform will establish user needs, and the appropriate mechanisms for resolution and enforcement.
Mimi Zou, researcher from University of Oxford, on behalf of the Consortium: “We are delighted to be working with LawtechUK to explore the feasibility of an ODR platform for UK SMEs and to develop a proof of concept. Our consortium is a diverse and interdisciplinary team of industry and academic experts in ODR and innovation in government digital services. Our vision is to develop forward-thinking human-centred solutions that UK SMEs and other stakeholders can rely on to resolve disputes easily and efficiently.”
The ultimate aim is to provide a technology-enabled environment that offers SMEs an alternative, elective method to resolve late payments and address the £11.6bn paid in litigation fees and the £50bn in late payments arising each year.
LawtechUK is excited to move into this next stage. The next steps are to design the Lawtech Sandbox and establish the governance framework with a range of industry participants, and to commence the research and feasibility study for the SME Dispute Resolution Platform.