We were delighted to be joined by The Rt. Hon. Sir Geoffrey Vos (the Chancellor of the High Court), Alexis Mitchell (Principal Data Scientist at Opus 2 International) and Laura Bygrave (Innovation Manager at Taylor Wessing) for our inaugural Digitising Disputes event on 20 March 2019.
Sir Geoffrey delivered a fascinating keynote speech on the "Court of the Future", followed by a panel and audience discussion on the key themes likely to arise over the next decade as far as the courts, practitioners, clients and legal tech developers are concerned, including:
- Likelihood of increased reliance on block chain or digital contracts and surveillance by the parties reducing the scope for factual disputes.
- Evolution of legal research tools to speed up legal argument.
- Reduced need for in-person hearings, with more Court processes to be done electronically or via video hearings (interestingly, the debate coincided with two Manchester litigants in-person conducting a hearing via video conference for the first time in English court history earlier in the same week).
- The extent to which AI will alter the legal profession, and the tools we need to equip ourselves going forward.
- The likely barriers to change, including parts of the legal profession itself, as well as competitiveness of England and Wales as a dispute resolution venue in the future.
In addition to the "future gazing", Sir Geoffrey also touched on a couple of related issues:
- The need to provide more space for ADR in any future Court systems.
- The hope that technological change will assist in increasing diversity in the legal profession and judiciary, by allowing professionals to achieve a greater balance between work and family commitments.