The hard-pressed Ministry of Justice has found £2m in spare funding to allocate to technology in the legal sector, the lord chancellor announced this morning. However David Gauke MP was unable to give details of how the money will be spent.
Opening today’s Artificial Intelligence in Legal Services Summit in London, Gauke said: ’Technology promises to be a key component in the success of our legal services sector and this funding will help support emerging lawtech in the UK and wider economic growth.
’We are home to some of the best law firms in the world, globally renowned courts and a wealth of legal talent. Through the effective use of technology, we can help the sector advance and continue to lead globally.’
The funding is expected to be channeled through the LawTech Delivery Panel, an industry-led body set up last year and chaired by Law Society president Christina Blacklaws. In his speech, Gauke noted that the UK is the world’s second largest legal services market, worth around £25bn to the economy with more than 300,000 people employed in the sector, and a leading global legal centre.
Lawtech embraces a range of IT-based innovations for automating or streamlining work in the legal sector, along the lines of ’fintech’ in financial services. A large focus of interest is the use of algorithm-based machine-learning in such areas as discovery, contract due diligence and in predictng the outcomes of litigation. In 2018 the lawtech sector was valued at $15.9bn (£12.5bn) globally.
Blacklaws welcomed the lord chancellor's announcement, saying: 'This initiative will help the UK to become a world leader in legal technology – with all of the economic benefits that follow. We look forward to working with the lord chancellor and the ministry in the strategic delivery of this investment.'