Technology and Innovation

CILEx Regulation is engaged with a variety of stakeholders across the legal and tech sectors and are supporting various initiatives so as to encourage the responsible uptake of lawtech and innovation in the sector.

You can find out more about some of our previous work on technology and innovation by following the links in the sidebar.

What is ‘Lawtech’?

Put simply, the term ‘lawtech’ can be used to describe technologies that are employed specifically for the purposes augmenting or replacing traditional methods of legal services delivery, whether this be in terms of legal practice, or of the justice system more generally.

You may see the terms ‘lawtech’, ‘legaltech’, and ‘legal technology’ be used interchangeably in this context. While there is some debate as to the scope of each term, they can usually be encapsulated within the above definition.

A few examples of technologies commonly considered to be lawtech include:

  • Document automation – software that creates templates (usually via the use of questionnaires) to automatically generate a completed, customisable contract.
  • Legal analytics – a selection of tools that are able to assist a lawyer in drawing insights from large volumes of data.
  • Legal research systems –any research tools or online research sites geared toward enhancing the ability of lawyers to conduct legal research.
  • Smart contracts – a self-executing contract written in code and assured by a blockchain network or other distributed ledger technology (DLT).
  • e-discovery tools – technologies that assist a legal professional in processing electronic information for use during legal proceedings.
  • Legal chatbots –automated computer programs that are able to act as a customer service representative concerning simple legal or administrative matters.

While the basic function of these technologies is not always legal, they are often referred to as ‘lawtech’ when applied to the provision of legal services.

There are also a number of high-profile public technological initiatives that suggest a more fundamental shift in the legal services sector. For example, see the work being conducted by LawTech UK, the HMCTS Court Reform Programme or HM Land Registry’s ‘Digital Street’ initiative.

What are the benefits?

When utilised in the right way, lawtech holds immense potential to benefit both the consumer and the legal services provider by:

  • Improving efficiency – where lawtech serves to reduce time spent on ‘back-office’ or repetitive tasks, the legal professional is better able to direct their time toward serving the consumer.
  • Reducing costs – lawtech can directly reduce the cost of legal services delivery by automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks. The benefits of this filter down to provide a better, more cost-effective consumer experience.
  • Enhancing accessibility – lawtech initiatives focusing on increasing access to justice or enhancing public legal education, empower users of the justice system to know their rights and responsibilities, and can provide greater, more user-friendly access to recourse and support when needed.

The benefits of lawtech are only just beginning to be felt, with the regulatory environment shifting to allow for a greater degree of innovation in the sector.

We support the responsible uptake of technology and innovation in the legal sector, insofar as such progress continues to benefit the consumer. As such, we are continually engaging with stakeholders to legal services to best assess how this can be achieved.

Innovation at CILEx Regulation

We appreciate that novel ideas can take many forms, and it is often difficult to know where to begin.

If you are currently regulated by CILEx Regulation…

You might be unsure whether your innovative idea fits within our current rules and regulations. In this case, you might want to review our waiver policy.

This policy sets out the limited set of circumstances under which we are able to waive specific rules and regulations to allow for those unforeseen circumstances where they may act as a barrier to innovative practices.

If you do not believe the innovation you are considering requires a rule waiver, but would still like regulatory reassurance that it will comply with our rules, then please feel free to get in touch with us via the details at the bottom of the page.

If you are a lawtech provider, or interested in becoming part of our regulated community…

Please consider getting in touch to find out how we can support you.  We can provide regulatory guidance concerning your innovative offering or refer you to the right people within our network who may be able to help.

Contact

If you would like to get in touch regarding our technology and innovation work at CILEx Regulation, please contact Felix Brown at felix.brown@cilexregulation.org.uk