LSB consults on tech and innovation guidance to improve access to legal services

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has launched a consultation on its draft statutory guidance on promoting technology and innovation to improve access to legal services.

LSB research estimates that 3.6 million individuals have an unmet legal need in England and Wales annually. Increased adoption of technology and innovative services could help to address this.

Most members of the public are willing to use a variety of technologies to access legal services and are open to service innovations such as unbundling. Qualitative research for LawtechUK and the LSB found that more than 75% of small businesses say they would be interested in using lawtech solutions for their business needs.

In England and Wales, six in ten (60%) law firms agree that their clients expect them to use technology to deliver legal services, and nearly half (49%) agree that technology can make it cheaper to provide legal services.

Regulation should be focused on unlocking the benefits of technology and innovation to improve access to legal services by people and businesses who need them.

The LSB’s draft statutory guidance for legal services regulators aims to promote:

  • greater access for consumers to a broader range of legal services that better meet their diverse needs;
  • a legal services market that is open to technology providers and legal services innovators who wish to enter the market and deliver services to consumers; and
  • improved access to justice and a reduction in unmet legal need.

If the guidance is introduced, the LSB will consider how regulators take account of it through its annual regulatory performance assessment.

Matthew Hill, CEO of the LSB, said:

‘Technology and innovation could dramatically enhance access to legal services for the millions of people and small businesses who need them. The Covid-19 pandemic has already seen an increase in law firms implementing new technologies like video conferencing, and every day sees new applications for technologies like AI. While it will, of course, be important for regulators to understand and respond proportionately to risk, they will need, first and foremost, to adopt an open stance on technology and innovation if we want the public to benefit from the improved access to legal services they can bring.

We look forward to hearing from a wide range of stakeholders through this consultation and working with the sector to ensure technology and innovation support the delivery of legal services that better meet society’s needs.”

The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 10th July 2023 to 5.00pm on 2th October 2023.

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