05 July 2018

UK to build £300m cybercrime court and invest in LawTech

The UK government green lights £300m court to fight cybercrime and joins forces to boost the UK's LawTech industry.

A new £300m court is to be set up to tackle cybercrime and fraud, with the hope of boosting the country’s status as a global legal centre, the UK’s lord chancellor has announced. He also announced plans for a new “Lawtech Delivery Panel” to provide direction on developments such as AI and smart contracts.

Cybercrime court

The purpose-built court, which will also deal with business and property disputes, economic crime and civil cases, will hold 18 courtrooms and replace the Mayor’s and City of London county court and City of London magistrates’ court. It is being created in partnership between the judiciary and the City of London Corporation, which is to contribute most of the project’s cost. It will also include a new City of London police station. David Gauke, the lord chancellor and justice secretary, said: “The flag of English law is flown in countries across the globe, and London already leads the way as the best place to do business and resolve disputes. This state-of-the-art court is a further message to the world that Britain both prizes business and stands ready to deal with the changing nature of 21st century crime.” A feasibility study into the court was announced in October and the plan has now been given the green light, and is expected to be completed by 2025. Funding will be provided by the City of London Corporation and HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

Harnessing LawTech

A new “Lawtech Delivery Panel” to provide direction on developments such as AI and smart contracts. Chaired by The Law Society’s incoming President Christina Blacklaws, the group will provide direction to the legal sector and help foster an environment in which new technology can thrive. The UK’s legal services sector is valued at around £24 billion. The Lord Chancellor explained the legal sector is adapting to harness emerging technologies, citing the Serious Fraud Office introducing a document review system, backed up by artificial intelligence, that can review 2,000 documents a day and law firms embracing automated digital contracts that allow for on-going monitoring of contract terms. Mr Gauke said, ‘The UK is the ideal place for LawTech to thrive, with its progressive regulation, world-leading professionals and financial services sector and huge tech talent pool.’ In April of this year, the Prime Minister announced a £20 million fund to encourage work between businesses and researchers and help the service industry, including the legal sector, take advantage of new technologies. The Home Office has also announced the launch of start-up visas for entrepreneurs looking to come to the UK.