Wow – our biggest and best online courts hackathon yet!!

What an AWESOME 24 hours of fun, coding, building, hustling, competing, eating pizza, hanging out and high fives. A personal career high for Jimmy Vestbirk was a high five with the Lord Chief Justice.

The hackathon embodied everything that is amazing about the Legal Geek community. We had a crazy attendee rate of 210 out of 218 and 30 teams competed to build new concepts for our online court’s system. The event was a collaboration between Legal Geek, SCL, The Judiciary of England and Wales and HMCTS.

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Legal Geek Online Courts Hackathon

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The challenges

  • form-filling – making court documents more accessible to litigants in person
  • order drafting – creating orders that are more likely to be accepted by courts
  • continuous online hearing – challenging the question of whether a court is a place or a service
  • argument-building – to aid non-lawyers in creating well-structured arguments, distinguishing fact from law
  • outcome prediction – using technology to answer the natural question “what are my chances of winning?” rather than asking a lawyer
  • negotiating and settlement – tools to help resolve disputes before they escalate
  • dispute classification – to guide non-lawyers to resolution options
  • bundles – how to solve the plastic-bag-full-of-paper problem.


The Judges

Thirty teams pitched their ideas and reported on their progress on building their solution. After a short-listing phase, nine teams got four minutes in front of the full panel of judges and every other attendee. The judges were:

  • Mrs Justice May, High Court judge
  • Mrs Justice Carr, High Court judge
  • Amanda Finlay, Chair of Law for Life
  • Kevin Gallagher, Digital Change Director
  • Chris James, Technology Lawyer, SCL Trustee
  • James Moore, Co-founder, F-Lex Legal.

Professor Richard Susskind OBE, President of the Society of Computers and Law and one of the online courts pioneers:

“Online courts are likely to be the most significant development in our court system since the nineteenth century, enabling far greater and affordable access to justice. We are bowled over by the response to the Hackathon.”

Susan Acland-Hood, CEO of HM Courts and Tribunals said:

“We want to take the best justice system in the world and improve it though new technology and modern ways of working. Our existing plans for online courts will help people resolve disputes quickly in ways that suit them but we also want to work with others who can bring us new ideas. The excellent teams competing in this event will be contributing to something that really matters – the delivery of a better justice system for the future.”

Jimmy Vestbirk, founder of Legal Geek:

“We believe online courts are the perfect application of technology to improve access to justice. Legal Geek, the world’s largest community of LawTech startups, is proud to co-host a hackathon which could generate ideas to shape the future of our court system. This was a once in a life time opportunity for students, coders, designers, legal professionals and innovators to shape the future of online courts.”

The winners of our Online Courts Hackathon

  • A team made up from members of Wavelength Law and the Law Society of England and Wales won.
  • Team PM from Pinsent Masons were runners-up.
  • The Craziest Idea, which went to the Two of Us
  • Best Teamwork, won by the Gilbert & Tobin team
  • Coolest Tech, which was awarded to a team from Cambridge University


They came from as far as Australia..