Lobby group LegalUK will today call on the legal and business communities alongside the government to establish a National Institute for Legal Innovation in the face of international competition from jurisdictions such as China.

Futurologist and author Richard Susskind, a director of LegalUK, will tell an event at the Old Bailey tonight that the UK’s legal and common law heritage – while internationally admired – is no longer enough. Instead, Susskind will say, the UK needs to bring together the best legal and technology minds to harness the full power and potential of AI as an opportunity for the economy and the profession – not a threat.

Richard Susskind

Susskind: 'Yesterday’s formula is not sustainable'

The UK faces stiff competition from other jurisdictions, including China, which plans to roll out an AI system to support the law by 2025. 

The UK’s attempts to keep pace with change have to date been piecemeal and uncoordinated, Susskind will say. While other disciplines already have national centres, there is currently no such body to advance law and legal services on a national basis.

There is a clear opportunity for the UK to show how English law is the obvious choice in relation to AI and how UK courts should take advantage of technological change - for example, by helping litigants in person.

Speaking ahead of the event, Susskind said: 'Yesterday’s formula is not sustainable. We cannot rely on tradition to help us meet the challenges the UK justice and legal systems are facing. Technology is driving forward change at a rapid rate and to maintain our leadership, we need to innovate and embrace technology as a force for good.

'We are calling for the establishment of a new National Institute for Legal Innovation to systematically bring together the best legal minds and ensure we are ahead of the game and position ourselves as global leaders.

'Until now, the loudest voices have been those who see AI and technology as a problem, rather than the clear opportunity that it is. All the while, the pace of technological change is accelerating. The institute will become a focal point in the UK for new thinking on how we improve access to justice, preserve our global position, and respond to the rapid development of technology.’


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