Here you can find references and ideas for the Justis International Law & Technology Writing Competition 2019 , alongside guidance and examples from last year’s competition.
From the data usage detailed in University registration terms and conditions to a full digital campus experience, educational intuitions are required to collect data which can be used to improve, support and enhance the student experience. However, with the introduction of new data laws, such as GDPR, practical challenges for universities in the UK and around the world are on the rise.
Over the last decade the legal industry’s interest in legal technology has risen significantly. Automated contract review, artificial intelligent case law services and smart document management tools are disrupting this traditional industry. Yet as technology becomes ever more present we are seeing law makers and governments expressing a growing interest in utilising this technology to support the legal system, including online courts.
Will online courts work to reduce the overloaded timetable of physical courtrooms?
Following the proposal by Lord Justice Briggs, online courts have been a topic of discussion both in government and the legal sector, with their merits and flaws being discussed at length. As a trial is undertaken, the government are committed to seriously considering how online courts may be utilised, yet concerns remain over how comprehensive this system may be compared to physical courtrooms. Can online courts work to reduce the overloaded timetable of physical courtrooms, while still dispensing justice in as comprehensive a manner?
Government funding for legal AI and data technology – “Research and development is under-funded and under-thought in the legal tech space. If it’s about how AI can fix the legal ecosystem rather than how we can make money out of commercial law, then it’s a good thing.”
Around the world, access to justice is an important component of law. People need to be able to access advice, courts and legal processes, however for many the law is out of their reach. Today’s technology can be used to improve access to justice, support vulnerable people requiring access to the legal system, and much more.
How might funding into legal technology solutions address the shortfall in legal aid spending?
In the UK legal aid spending has fallen from £2.6bn in 2005/6 to £1.5bn in 2016, and this has resulted in an increasing number of individuals representing themselves in the lower courts. While there are groups which are campaigning for this budget to be increased, arguing that it limits access to justice, alternative technological solutions have been proposed to minimise the impact of this shortfall. From online courts to solutions which can connect individuals to appropriate legal practitioners who are undertaking pro-bono work, are these potential solutions which can address the shortfall in legal aid spending in any meaningful way?
Access to justice and the urgent need for a law tech revolution – “If the UK does want to be a world leader in law technology, we would humbly suggest that a good place to start is fundamental reform of how legal information is made available to the public and to businesses alike.”
Social media has the power to create connections, develop reputations and enable open dialogue. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Pinterest host robust communities of conversations and content. They can also be vectors for infringement, libel, crime and corruption. Legal professionals participate, advocate and innovate in these spaces. For this writing competition, JOLT seeks submissions that explore novel legal implications of social media, especially those involving technology.
Can communities on social media platforms ever truly be regulated?
With the rise of the ‘alt-right’ in recent years, there has been increasing concern over hate speech online, particularly among both open and closed communities which organise on social media. In response to this, there has been a repeatedly stated political will to make the owners of social media services more responsible for the content that is posted on their platform. However, with the immense volume of posts on social media platforms on any given day, and concerns of freedom of speech mentioned as a common opposition to any censorship, can communities on social media platforms ever truly be regulated?
Last year we launched the first ever Justis International Law and Technology Writing Competition which proved successful, however we have updated the format, topics and dates from last year’s competition. Previously, our shortlisted entries were announced in January 2018 , judging began in February 2018, and the runners-up and overall winner announced in March 2018 – This year the winner will be announced in February.
Our 2018 overall winner was Roisin Costello from Trinity College Dublin, and the three runners-up were Patrick Alexander Hum from the London School of Economics, Secil Bilgic from Harvard University and Jae Jun Kim from the University of Auckland. Roisin Costello, the overall 2018 winner, explains why students should enter next year’s competition, and provides advice for current students on writing original and creative blogs:
“The competition offers an exceptional opportunity to expose your writing to Justis’ international readership, and an associated impact for your research findings and ideas few students receive. The competition is exceptional, as the caliber of entries included on the shortlist this year illustrated and I can only imagine this will become even more evident in coming years. At an individual level the discipline of distilling complex legal arguments and ideas into concise, approachable pieces for public consumption is a hugely valuable skill both in practice and, increasingly, for those entering academia who want to communicate the importance of their research to the populations affected by it.
Generally my advice would be to write, not conversationally, but very clearly, in direct, precise language. I think it is important to bear in mind you are not necessarily addressing an audience who have a pre-existing interest or experience of the subject you are discussing – or its importance. What may seem obvious to you is not necessarily so to an ‘outsider.’ There can also be a temptation to acknowledge and counter every argument and cram in a level of nuance that simply doesn’t sit well with the medium. For what it’s worth I think good blogs are highly precise in their use of language, have one clear, concisely articulated view or argument, a solution and a brief acknowledgement (if necessary) of the limitations of same.”
International Writing Competition 2018 overall runner-up article, for the category: The Future of Legal Practice
By Patrick Alexander Hum, LLM candidate, London School of Economics.
International Writing Competition 2018 overall runner-up article, for the category: Global Public Impact
By Jae Jun Kim from the University of Auckland, New Zealand
International Writing Competition 2018 overall runner-up article, for the category: Technological Innovations
By Secil Bilgic from Harvard Law School, USA
International Writing Competition 2018 overall winning article
By Róisín Costello from Trinity College School of Law, Dublin