A research initiative headed by two solicitor academics is setting out to identify technologies to ‘transform the landscape’ of dispute resolution. The Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab, based at Oxford University’s Faculty of Law, aims to build an international hub to share knowledge between law firms, dispute resolution institutions and the technology sector.
Areas of interest are likely to include artificial intelligence as a way of levelling the playing field between litigants, as well as potentially resolving disputes.
Stage one will be to set up an advisory board. ‘We are looking to partner up with interested organisations in the legal profession to promote cutting-edge research and knowledge exchange between academia, policymakers and practitioners,’ said Dr Mimi Zou, fellow in Chinese commercial law at St Hugh’s College.
Zou, who is admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales as well as in her native New South Wales, is leading the project with Mark Beer OBE, visiting fellow at Saïd Business School. Beer, a former in-house solicitor at Mastercard, played a key role in setting up the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts. He is currently president of the International Association for Courts Administration.
The laboratory is the latest in a series of initiatives by academic lawyers to build links with legal practices and businesses developing ‘lawtech’ innovations.
Last week international firm Simmons & Simmons hosted the first meeting of the Bristol and Bath legal technology community, set up by Dagmar Steffens, director of academic law at the University of the West of England. Meanwhile the University of Manchester’s Law & Technology Initiative has signed six local firms and chambers as partners.