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HM Courts and Tribunals announces all-night ‘hackathon’

10th May 2017

HM Courts and Tribunals have revealed today that they will be kicking off plans to design an online court with an all-night ‘hackathon’, to be held at a secret location in London. The announcement detailed plans to collaborate with technology law community Legal Geek and the Society for Computers and Law in order to run the event.

The Online Court-building ‘hackathon’ will be run from 12pm on 1st of July for 24 hours, according to their event website. Teams will be partaking with ‘a friendly and yet competitive spirit’ to build ‘designs, solutions, systems, and technologies for online courts’.

The idea of the ‘hackathon’ is hardly a new one. Emerging in the 1990s from the US’ ‘cyberpunk’ culture, the original hackathons aimed to connect interested parties to allow them to work together to solve particular problems, and would traditionally be accompanied with fast food. The judiciary seems to be reviving and emulating the event, and have announced that ‘pizzas and coffee will be consumed in great quantities’. It plans to run non-stop over the 24-hour period, saying that ‘we expect most teams to work through the night, certainly the techies’.

The event will involve the designing of tools for use in online courts, such as to help litigators build legal arguments, organise digital documents, come to settlements without the need for advisors, as well as means to achieve automated learning solutions that will retrospectively analyse data generated by the online programs in order to improve the system.

‘Online courts are likely to be the most significant development in our court system since the nineteenth century, enabling far greater and affordable access to justice. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the design of online court’, commented Professor Richard Susskind OBE, president of the Society of Computers and Law and a keen backer of the scheme.