The grant is part of the latest round of awards from the Regulators Pioneer Fund (RPF), which helps connect those developing new legal technologies with those who need their services most.
The award of £167,856 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will be used to create a new network where regulators, institutions and local government can collaborate to improve legal access within communities, by supporting, testing and promoting new legal technology.
This recognises the project as one 21 bold new initiatives backed by the Government’s multi-million-pound Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, which propels cutting-edge innovation across the UK. The Fund supports projects led by regulators and local authorities that help support the country’s regulatory environment to keep pace with technological advances of the future – benefiting both entrepreneurs and consumers.
The project has been led by the SRA and the other project partners will be the UWE, ICO and West of England Combined Authority. Swansea Law Clinic, based within the Hillary Rodham School of Law at Swansea University, and the Legal Innovation Lab Wales (LILW) are the Welsh partners for the project.
Communities around Swansea and Bristol will be engaged to test new developments. The first part of the project will involve researching what innovations are available, and how the partners can best connect the technologies with those in need of them.
Speaking on the award, Stefano Barazza, Academic Lead at the Legal Innovation Lab Wales, said:
“Through this project, we aim to better understand how technology can address the challenges encountered by under-represented and vulnerable communities in accessing legal advice. The collaboration with our partners in Bristol, the SRA and the ICO will allow us to inform future regulation at the intersections of tech and access to justice, making sure the Welsh perspective is at the core of such policy interventions.
“The Lab will also identify the key technological advancements needed to improve access to justice, with a view to involving the Welsh legal community in their future design, prototyping and deployment. We’ll engage with local communities, law firms and local authorities to ensure everyone has a chance to contribute their views to our work.
“We’re delighted the community of Swansea will benefit from this project which, we hope, will lay the foundations for how we can use technology in the legal sector to improve access to justice for communities across England and Wales. We are keen to help Wales pioneer the use of legal technology to improve access to legal services for all.”