The proposed introduction of online courts in England and Wales (for civil, family, and tribunal disputes) represents one of the most significant reforms to the justice system in the past two centuries. Supported by both the Government and the Judiciary of England and Wales, the motivation behind online courts is to provide greater access to justice at lower cost than the conventional court system. While the government is leading the transformation (and is investing around £1 billion in modernising the courts), it is recognised that the design of the online courts would benefit from the input of the wider communities of lawyers, court users, law students, and technologists.
The idea of the Hackathon is to bring these communities together over a 24-hour period (from noon to noon) and in a friendly and yet competitive spirit, to invite teams to come up with designs, solutions, systems, and technologies for online courts. Participants will be invited to design various tools to support online courts – for example, tools to help litigants structure their legal arguments, organise their documents, negotiate settlements without advisers, as well as systems that will promote ‘open justice’ and machine learning solutions that will help analyse all the data generated by the online courts (these examples were drawn, in part, from discussions with HM Courts & Tribunals Service).