/Technology making legal system/ services – accessible, efficient, transparent and affordable

Technology making legal system/ services – accessible, efficient, transparent and affordable

Legistify

The Indian judicial system has come a long way, though still not perfect, the entry of cutting edge technology has made many processes/services accessible, seamless and speedy. Gone are the days when courts gave a drab and archaic look. Nowadays, these are modern buildings equipped with state-of-the-art gadgetry – WiFi, Servers, Cloud services and Video conferencing to name a few. Portals of the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts and other allied websites have cut a lot of red tape and have brought many legal services onto the user’s mobile screen.

Routine things like hearing dates, cancellation/ postponements, case status, judges bench, appointments etc. can now be directly accessed over the internet without any middleman. It is not uncommon to witness an important court hearing happening via video conferencing, in case one or another party has a genuine reason for not being able to be physically present in the courtroom. Technology has considerably reduced the time-space gap, saving millions of hapless litigants, their time, money and sweat.

Making litigation data and facts driven: With courts upping the ante on technology, how can the law firms be behind! Many leading firms in India have recently incorporated Artificial Intelligence tools in their systems. These AI solutions help lawyers capture relevant clauses and important information from structured contracts and other documents. This proves to be extremely useful while reviewing complicated long-drawn contracts and agreements. Also, Artificial intelligence legal software is helping to predict the probable outcome of a pending case with remarkable accuracy. AI, by the use of analytical algorithms, can predict the end result of every argument put forth in any case and can identify patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes.

Searching for a case law is just a matter of clicks: Online search and archive platforms have made it simpler for lawyers, their clients and law students to search cases/ precedents. Moreover, it has made it easier for people with pending cases to get the status of their case online instead of running after their lawyers and wasting time. Earlier, the only solution for finding cases was very cumbersome – the time consuming manual search for the relevant case files in court libraries.

“There are online lawyer marketplaces like Legistify that have revolutionized the way the legal system in India works, by providing fixed cost legal services. One can easily consult a lawyer and book a legal service in just a matter of minutes. Some of these platforms also provide free legal advice services to individuals looking for basic advice. They also offer a platform where individuals/ entrepreneurs seeking legal services can connect with the independent legal firms”

National grid to search for pending cases: Another important innovation has been the introduction of the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), which is an online portal through which lawyers and clients can access the data of the pending cases in courts throughout India. NJDG works as a monitoring tool to identify, manage and reduce pendency of cases. It can be accessed through www.njdg.ecourts. gov.in.

Reducing the burden of the courts: The development of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) has been remarkable in this century. ODR is basically a branch of dispute resolution which uses technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties. It primarily involves negotiation, mediation or arbitration, or a combination of all three. So, in other words, it can be said to be an online form of ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution). ODR involves the creation of a virtual replica of physical setting and conduct proceedings by using various means of information exchange consisting email, SMS, digitized documents, grid computing as well as video and teleconferencing. Some other benefits of ODR are that it is efficient, economical, non-confrontational, requires less physical interaction and minimizes physical storage of documents.

More comprehensive and accurate evidence analysis: One of the most remarkable impacts of technology has been seen in the judicial procedural domain. Almost all leading courts in India are using technological tools to analyse evidence. For instance, fingerprint matching is conducted with the help of software like NEXA, voice matching through SESTEK, and DNA matching using tools like iNquiry, Lasergene and Sequencher. Besides these, numerous tools have been used by courts for matching handwriting, blood samples and reconstructing the images of suspects.

Keeping the litigants informed: Courts these days have also started sending SMS alerts of hearing dates and cause list. This not only saves time of advocates and clients but helps lawyers in ensuring that they do not miss a court hearing. All you need to do is download the eCourts Services mobile app or you can log onto www.ecourts.gov. in. Some High Courts in India have also started using WhatsApp and SMS services for serving summons. Courts have also introduced interactive voice response system (IVR) and Helpline contacts, through which the litigants and applicants can stay updated on their individual case status.

Tech-driven administration and management tools: Various law practice management tools have surfaced in the past few years which are helping advocates and firms track cause list, receive updates on the status of the case, perform research and track invoices. Advocates can also subscribe for case alerts and hearing alerts with the help of these tools. Furthermore management tools like Kleos from Wolters Kluwer, automates workflow and helps law firms in defining routine processes. Also, they increase efficiency, improve organization and establish accountability at any law firm. Nevertheless, legal technology can help any firm keep better client records, track client communication, and promise complete online security and data secrecy.

Do-it-yourself document creation tools: Numerous document generation tools have been launched in the past few years which provide various standardised documents like Contracts, Affidavits, NDA, Wills etc. All you need to do is fill in the required details in the tool and hit the generate button. This has proved to be extremely helpful for advocates who can now simply generate documents through these tools instead of wasting hours in drafting each document manually and reviewing them for grammatical and other errors.

Online lawyer marketplaces: Every litigant needs a lawyer – competent, accessible, dependable and affordable. Hence, last but not least, there are online lawyer marketplaces like Legistify that have revolutionised the way the legal system in India works, by providing fixed cost legal services. One can easily consult a lawyer and book a legal service in just a matter of minutes. Some of these platforms also provide free legal advice services to individuals looking for basic advice. They also offer a platform where individuals/ entrepreneurs seeking legal services can connect with the independent legal firms, taking their legal practice to the next levels. The lawyers can expand their services by acquiring more clients from different parts of the globe. At the same time, they can continue their services at a law firm or by working independently. And the best part is that the Legistify platform is sector or domain agnostic – the expertise/services on offer include civil and criminal litigation services for individuals and companies of any scale or size.

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The author is Founder and CEO, Legistify, a leading legal technology platform.

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