Another year, another HiiL Innovating Justice Forum. The Forum is a yearly event, held in the Peace Palace in the Hague. Members of the global legal community get together each year to look at how technology can bridge the justice gap. In fact, Clocktimizer was even a Dutch finalist in 2017!

This year our Marketing Manager, Frances (who is writing about herself in third person), once again taught at the Entrepreneurship School. In doing so she got to see some of the most innovative legal tech developments from around the world. This year saw entrants from South Africa, the Ukraine, Kenya, Uganda, India and beyond. Most excitingly, the legal tech developments coming out of these countries often go unreported in the international media. As such, we wanted to spread the word about these brilliant start-ups.

And the winner is…

Each year, HiiL awards a first prize to the most promising start-up. Competition, as ever, was incredibly tough. In the end, CrimeSync were the lucky winners. So, who are CrimeSync?

CrimeSync is a case management system for police and courts, based in Sierra Leone. Founder Sorieba Daffae recognised how difficult it was for citizens to keep track of the progression in their case. Indeed, the lack of centralised case management system means that often police and courts do not have all of the necessary case information in front of them. CrimeSync’s
web and mobile application allows justice sector stakeholders to organise their operations, collaborate and share information through electronic case management. Better yet, over 50% of those moving through the legal system in Sierra Leone have been able to benefit from this excellent system.

Comics and welfare applications

The second and third prizes went to equally worthy ventures. Second prize was won by Haqdarshak from India. This tech platform supports citizens discover, apply for and benefit from eligible welfare schemes. Brilliantly, they also empower local women in each community to guide citizens in their application process. Unsurprisingly, the platform is incredibly popular. They have already processed over half a million applications. It doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down any time soon.

The third prize went to a familiar face to Clocktimizer; Comic Contracts. Founded in South Africa, this brilliant start-up rethinks the way we enter into agreements. After all, who among us hasn’t dreaded the thought of trying to read and analyse a contract ourselves? Comic Contracts replaces those vague sub-clauses with pictures. This visualisation is not only good for those who are illiterate, but also makes the terms themselves fairer. Its much harder to hide behind vague terms when you have to turn them into an easy to understand drawing. We’re looking forward to their hotly anticipated app which should arrive later in the year.

Solutions for legal professionals

Not all of the solutions on offer were focused on citizens. We also saw some start-ups focusing on legal professionals. Axdraft, from the Ukraine, have built a document automation tool for law firms and in-house legal teams. They build bespoke templates of regularly used legal documents for their clients. They even offer a free version of their site to private individuals with the most commonly used legal documents. Better yet, they’re expanding out of the Ukraine. So, if you’re fed up of re-drafting the same document, get in touch!

Baobab law, based in South Africa, were another innovation focused on legal professionals. Who are their users? Overworked junior lawyers and paralegals. Initially the platform allowed lawyers to share advice videos on different points of law. However, Baobab are also expanding to create an app for managing clients and cases. It even has integrated financial management, so clients can organise and approve finances with their lawyers without needing to come into the office. Eventually the founders hope to create a ‘WordPress’ for legal services. Providing a one stop shop for tools that legal professionals can use to automate and commoditise processes. Exciting stuff!

Learn about more great innovations

If this piqued your interest then head to HiiL’s accelerator website. This year saw 17 finalists so we’ve barely scratched the surface of what was on offer. And don’t forget to put next year’s date in your diary!