The Legal Access Challenge
The Legal Access Challenge is officially open and welcomes diverse organisations to submit applications! The £250,000 Legal Access Challenge is looking for innovative legal solutions that will help individuals and SMEs to better understand and resolve their legal problems. The Challenge seeks to bring about long-term change in the legal services market through the development of user-facing solutions. Applications close on 11 August 2019!
The Legal Access Challenge, a new challenge prize which aims to help more people access legal support through digital technology, has launched on May 30 2019. Organised by Nesta in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Challenge has been made possible by a grant from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK.
Applications are welcome from diverse entities, including legal tech startups, law firms, alternative legal providers, advice sector organisations and teams based at law school. The deadline is 11 August.
Joint applications from two or more entities are welcome and at the Network we are offering help and support to members who are interested in submitting a joint application.
This includes us reaching out to existing law tech providers who are interested in partnering with access to justice organisations. If you are interested in this, please reach out to us; you can email Martha on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Legal Access Challenge has also set up a Slack group which you can join here so that potential applicants can:
- Meet others with an interest in using technology to help individuals and SMEs better understand and resolve their legal problems
- Connect with potential partners
- Share information - reports, articles, events, useful resources etc
- Get updates on the Legal Access Challenge (all updates will also be available on the website and sent through email)
The Challenge will provide a £50,000 Development Grant to four Finalists in September 2019 and an additional £50,000 Prize Award in March/April 2020. Applicants will retain control of their intellectual property.
More details on the application process can be found below and on the Legal Access Challenge website.
The Challenge is seeking solutions which demonstrate how digital technology can be used to directly help individuals and SMEs (including small businesses and small charities) to understand and resolve their legal problems in more affordable and accessible ways.
The solutions should appropriately support people through the stages of:
- Diagnosing their issue and/or understanding their rights if it is a legal problem
- Resolving the problem – i.e. resolving a dispute, generating legal documents, assessing the services of a legal professional
The solution may be a new solution, one that has been worked on for some time or a significant update to an existing solution, as long as it is at early or proof-of-concept stage.
Individuals should be able to interact with the solution directly – there should be some sort of interface between the solution and the intended user, and the user should be aware that they are interacting with the solution.
The user might interact with the solution either independently or in the presence of a legal professional or trained advisor.
Standout User Experiences
When users interact with the solution, they should make progress in understanding or resolving their legal problem and save as much time, money and stress as possible.
Examples of Potential Solutions
- Solutions which provide tailored guidance to support in identifying and/or evaluating a problem and the options to resolve it;
- Solutions supporting the identification and collection of information and relevant evidence in a suitable format;
- Solutions supporting with the completion of court documents;
- Solutions supporting the creation of legal documents;
- Solutions supporting earlier, lower cost and less adversarial resolution of problems, including online dispute resolution platforms.
A single application form must be completed to apply to the Challenge, which will probably take at least one day to complete. Applicants may attach a supplementary video or presentation sides alongside the application form, limited at 5 minutes to watch or read. Applicants will not pitch to the Judges.
Application deadline: 11 August 2019 23:59
Application review: A Judging Panel, an external assessment partner who will submit notes and scores to the Judges, a due diligence partner to carry out background checks using the information provided by the applicants themselves as well as other information sources.
Prize winners will have access to expert support including:
- One-to-one support from experienced SRA technical and legal staff to help you work through any potential regulatory issues;
- Supported access to the SRA Innovation Space;
- One-to-one support from the Regulators’ Business Innovation Privacy Hub within the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you need guidance on privacy and data protection issues;
- Opportunities to engage with HMCTS if your solution will interface with HMCTS systems;
- Opportunities to test your hypotheses with consumer focus groups, law charities, HMCTS and other stakeholders;
- Participation in an investment readiness workshop delivered by the Nesta Impact Investments team to help you raise additional funding.
- Individual, team or legally constituted organisation – no need to be legally constituted to apply, but must do so if selected as a Finalist in order to receive the funding
- Joint applications welcome
- Applicants must be 18 or over
- The organisation may be based anywhere in the world, but the solution must be designed for individuals and SMEs in England and Wales
- Equality, diversity and inclusion are very important
Judges are making a forward-looking judgment. They will select Finalists who they anticipate will make substantial progress against the assessment criteria until the final Prize Award in March 2020.
Innovation & Impact
- Demonstrate how technology could directly help individuals and SMEs to understand and resolve their legal issues better than at present;
- Be accessible, intuitive and user-friendly for their intended users; the best entries will explain how their solution meets a real need or needs of its target users better than current solutions;
- Be affordable for the widest range of individuals or SMEs;
- Have considered ethical and equality, diversion and inclusion opportunities and risks associated with the solution and how these could be evaluated and managed.
The Judges will favour solutions which help address legal problems faced by a significant number of users and have a replicable approach that could be extended to other types of legal problem.
The Judges will be looking for solutions which have a credible distribution plan to enable the solution to reach the greatest possible number of potential users. Solutions will be favoured if they have a credible sustainability plan for supporting the solution into the future.
The Judges will be looking for entries from teams which have the problem area expertise, legal knowledge and technological capability to develop their solution successfully and who have a clearly articulated, ambitious yet achievable plan for the next 6-months of the development cycle.