Will technology be the enabler for the new legal paradigm?

Imagine a legal system where risk is allocated in contracts fairly and transparently based on the characteristics of the transaction, where all parties can understand the rules on equal footing, where information is shared openly and where disputes are resolved based on information stored securely. It sounds pretty good to me.

The existing legal system built hundreds of years ago by elite men for elite men may rapidly be coming to an end. In the current legal paradigm, our adversarial system drives behaviour of withholding information where to do so has an advantage, of allocating risk based on contracting power and vulnerability (and how much money you have to spend on a lawyer) and a lack of justice where wrongs have been perpetrated.

As lawyers we all lament about the legal system, access to justice and the cost of legal services. Blockchain and the rapidly changing technology landscape creates an opportunity for us to do something about it. It is still to be seen how blockchain, smart contracts and technology platforms will interact with traditional legal services. However, let’s use this opportunity to shift the paradigm to empowerment and inclusion, sharing knowledge, contracts based on fair allocation of risk, open transparency and accountability when we stuff up.



Catherine Evans (views are my own).