Immigration and housing lawtech firms among eight selected for sandbox

Swallow: Strong pipeline of lawtech innovation

An online platform which helps tenants pursue housing disrepair claims without lawyers and a self-service tool which assesses whether people are eligible for work visas have been selected to enter a sandbox for lawtech start-ups.

Among the six other firms chosen are a DIY platform designed to help people resolve employment issues and an “AI-powered assistant” that scans electronic communications by staff.

They are the first cohort to join the sandbox after a pilot group late last year. It aims to fast-track ideas, products and services with the help of legal and financial regulators, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board, Legal Services Board and Financial Conduct Authority.

It is run by LawtechUK a government-backed initiative delivered through a collaboration between growth platform Tech Nation, the Lawtech Delivery Panel and the Ministry of Justice.

Legalme is an online platform that helps tenants with housing disrepair cases pursue legal claims without the need for lawyers, using document automation and case management technology.

The platform promises tenants on its website that it will “hassle landlords” on their behalf.

Tenants use an email generator to create the message that they would like delivered to their landlord, describing their problem and how they would like it resolved.

Legalme reviews the message “to make sure it’s polite but effective” and schedules the email.

“We’ll deliver your message to your landlord once a week for a month or until you tell us to stop, whichever comes first. We’ll let you know of any replies we receive.”

What Visa? provides a self-service visa evaluation service for businesses and individuals, to help them find out whether a potential employee is eligible for a work visa, without the need for lawyers.

Valla is a DIY platform aiming to help people resolve employment issues without lawyers, enabling people to collect evidence, generate forms and send letters.

When they need legal advice, they can connect with a lawyer through the Valla platform on a fixed fee.

On its website, Valla said its aim was to reduce the cost of taking a case to an employment tribunal by 90%.

“Our free platform radically simplifies legal paperwork, so you can collect evidence, generate forms, and send letters yourself without paying for a law firm.”

Lexyfi describes itself on its website as “an AI-powered assistant that scans electronic communication and flags issues in real-time”.

It aims to help employees “avoid unintended mistakes that expose your company to a series of risks that can have costly consequences”, while providing training to “educate employees on their professional conduct by identifying potential issues”.

Avvoka, a document automation, negotiation and analytics tool designed to help law firms, in-house legal teams and businesses draft and negotiate documents, was also selected for the sandbox.

It is joined by Feesier, which helps businesses and individuals “split the cost of legal services into instalments at no extra cost”.

Hunit is a platform which transforms analogue investment agreements into legally binding smart contracts by enabling lawyers to “embed self-executing actions directly within MS Word documents”.

The eighth member of the sandbox is Smarter:Contracts and its data privacy and consent management platform Pulse, which helps businesses “manage customer consents around data with greater transparency, security and control”, using blockchain and machine learning.

LawtechUK director Jenifer Swallow said that, by supporting lawtech pioneers, the goal of the sandbox was “ultimately to benefit the whole market and push the boundaries of what is possible”.

She added: “It has been fantastic to see the strong pipeline of lawtech innovation across the UK, much of it originating outside of London and with a diverse array of founders.”

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