Student’s ‘robot lawyer’ to make compensation claims

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A teenage student from north London has unveiled a free ‘robot lawyer’ service to help consumers with compensation claims.

The software, developed by 19-year-old Joshua Browder (pictured), asks users formatted questions and is designed to respond to answers, before deciding if the person has a legitimate claim. The case is then automatically processed on behalf of the claimant.

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Browder’s site, donotpay.co.uk, makes refund claims for incorrect parking tickets and flight delays, and has had 137,000 users since it was set up last September, he said.

Browder, a computer science and economics student at Stanford University, California, says his project is not intended to take work away from lawyers, but instead to stop people paying for help in securing compensation when the process is simple enough to do themselves.

‘I don’t want to make anyone unemployed, I just want to automate a basic task so solicitors can move onto other, more complicated work,’ he said.

‘People are making money from [appealing] parking fines – they are glorified secretaries and they are exploiting people.’

The website is currently mainly used by Britons but Browder is developing software to allow it to recognise Arabic, with a view to answering basic immigration queries.

Browder, who is considering a career as a lawyer, was motivated to start the website after contesting a number of parking tickets.

It took five months to develop and the student insists he does not make any money from the project.

‘I’m doing this as a public service, I’m just looking to help people,’ he said. ‘As the robot talks to people it learns by itself better conversation skills. I want it to be as good as a regular lawyer charging hundreds of pounds, but at the moment it’s not quite there.’

Readers' comments (13)

  • Nice to see him being give free advertising.

    What could possibly go wrong with immigration advice in a non roman script being provided by some simple (ish) algorithms?

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  • From the sounds of it, its already as good as a regular lawyer charging hundreds of pounds. The jump to an experienced MOJ Portal Operative on the minimum wage in a call center somewhere in Cardiff, however, that will be the challenge

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  • I remember this being done before and the MOJ Claims Regulator banning the site as it advertised for claims

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  • Nothing beats the human touch. Even if this site could predict the level of compensation, litigation is simply not that easy and there will always be that sense whether the award is right. Does the site have PII for claims for undervalue etc? I don't see it having an ABS licence and (unless he has lawyers on the books in the background - as he is not yet a lawyer) is this not caught by offering regulated Legal Services?

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  • I wonder how much his PII is and whether he is ready for that kind of commitment...

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  • I suppose some of our PI colleagues may say they are treated like robots in any event (I'm not saying they are robots, just that they are treated that way).

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  • Serious issues that may arise out of this new/potential "game changer" have already been touched upon by the readers, so...

    If for nothing else, his website should be banned for its appalling design - all that jerky moving of the screen is giving me motion sickness!

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  • I cannot believe The Law Gazette published this advertisement given that it is not a 'game changing' ABS or Co-Op. Also, should they (TLS) not be investigating this (as suggested above).

    I am one who believes in innovation but I am also one who feels that if I have to have a PC/PII/red tape to practice then all should so that we are all competing on a level playing field.

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  • I knew it. The pimpled faced, button pushing, techno freak are taking over! I am going to lock myself in the strong room!

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  • He will patent this design and then the rights will be bought up by a big outfit and either not used, or just used by them, or licensed out to others in return for royalties.

    And I can recall the dictaphone being brought in in my firm in Eastbourne in 1975...

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