One of the key concerns in the legal industry for the past few years has been whether technology is actively impacting the delivery of justice or enhancing access to justice.
It is for this reason that The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) held The 2018 Innovating Justice Conference in Nairobi.
The Nairobi Innovating Justice Conference is one of six global gatherings that bring together entrepreneurs, academia, corporates and others to discuss and showcase innovations improving access to justice. This year’s gathering featured strategic partnerships with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Liquid Telecom, GIZ (the German development agency), KICTANet, GJLOS, Nairobi Legal Hackers, the Advocacy Accelerator and many more.
Seven justice start-ups from the region showcased a series of pitches of several tech-based solutions which can empower citizens to access justice faster and more efficiently in East Africa.
These were the Pitching Startups:
- Btrack Global: The startup enables motorcyclists to track their motorcycles through the use of phones, to make them easily recoverable after they have been stolen.
- Uliza Wakili LLP: They provide cheap means of alternative dispute resolution to SMEs and startups.
- Wakili Mkononi: This is a social enterprise, that offers legal aid services and legal networking services on a digital platform.
- WASILIANAHUB: The first collaborative online & mobile tech-justice marketplace, building Africa’s largest Certified Professional Mediators portal for the advancement of Africa’s mediation practice. Professional help is ensured, helping to save time, money & heartache.
- iCourtroom: The service acts as a repository of wildlife crime data, tailored to do an analysis of the cases and serves as a measure of law enforcement efficacy.
- Viamo: Based in Rwanda, Viamo is developing information on access to justice that will be made available on demand in pre-recorded audio and text, on a toll-free mobile service under the shortcode 845, supported by MTN; and
- Nusu Hub: This startup developed, Jumuiya Attorney, a marketplace that enables people from low income and rural areas of Tanzania to hire legal professionals, all of whom are pre-screened and vetted.
The Keynote Speech was delivered by Justice William Ouko, the President of the Court of Appeal. There was a Panel on Justice Across Borders: How to Scale Solutions with representatives from GJLOS, the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and Justice Kairu of the Judiciary’s Court of Appeal.
Of interest on this panel was the solutions which Justice Kairu indicated the judiciary was using and proposed to enhance access to justice.
These include the e-filing system currently rolled out in the Commercial and Tax Division at Milimani Law Courts. The intention to introduce an e-service system for service to respondents. Proposal to adopt the speech to text proceedings in order to relieve judicial officers from the long handwriting of court proceedings. Implementation of a client-facing support system to be sent to court users informing them of the status of the matters and an Application to have interaction between clients and the court registry especially where advocates fail to apprise clients accordingly.
The winners of the pitch competition were: 1st Place – Btrack Global, 2nd Place – Viamo, 3rd Place Wakili Mkononi who also scooped the Audience Award.
During the next Conference, the entrepreneurs will pitch their justice innovation, after which the best innovation will be selected and reviewed by a jury. Selected innovations will be assessed by the Jury who will then advise on who wins the Innovating Justice Awards and acceleration funding worth over € 20,000!
The Innovating Justice Challenge has been the world’s foremost search for justice innovations since 2012. Each year, hundreds of justice innovations apply and between 15-20 will be selected for grant funding, justice expertise and networking, and mentorship.
The HiiL Justice Accelerator is part of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law. HiiL’s goal is helping 150 million people prevent or resolve their most pressing justice needs by 2030.