That was the Month that Was: October 2019 

1 October 

report on operation of EU initiative on ODR and ADR on cross-border consumer cases featured in EUreporter. ‘The Online Dispute Resolution platform has attracted more than 8.5 million visitors and 120,000 consumer complaints since its launch in 2016. Moreover, it has led to direct settlement in up to 42% of cases. As regards Alternative Dispute resolution, the report shows that impartial dispute resolution bodies are now operational in all member states and in the retail sectors. However, more work still needs to be done since both the Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Online Dispute Resolution do not deliver fully on the ground yet.’

2 October

Legal Education Foundation publishes its report on digital justice by Research Director Dr Natalie Byrom: ‘The move to online courts is an incredible opportunity to create a justice system that works well for everyone, whether they are an individual in crisis who has never been to court before, or a large organisation which regularly brings claims. We need to ensure that digital processes are designed and monitored in line with recognised access to justice principles. We also need to be able to measure how different groups fare under the online processes, compared with paper-based, or face-to-face systems.’

2 October

Study finds that ‘quitting Facebook makes you feel less depressed’

2 October

Interesting article by Mariana Mazzucato entitled ‘Preventing Digital Feudalism’: ‘By exploiting technologies that were originally developed by the public sector, digital platform companies have acquired a market position that allows them to extract massive rents from consumers and workers alike. Reforming the digital economy so that it serves collective ends is thus the defining economic challenge of our time.’

3 October 

British Columbia’s trailblazing Civil Resolution Tribunal happy with latest satisfaction statistics: ‘September Participant Satisfaction Survey results are up! Highlights: 91% agreed that CRT staff were professional; 76% felt their dispute was handled in a timely manner; 85% felt the CRT treated them fairly; 84% would recommend the CRT to others’

3 October

US doyen Legal Tech commentator, Bob Ambrogi, reports that Pew Charitable Trusts have awarded a major grant to Suffolk Law School to develop work on its Learned Hands project. ‘The idea behind Learned Hands was to create a game to incentivize players to crowdsource the task of spotting legal issues in real people’s stories about their legal problems.’

7 October

Ambogi reports on Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator. This ’connects businesses with a curated network of trusted IP law firms that provide high quality trademark registration services to help brands secure a trademark, at competitive rates’. Ambogi comments: ‘It is not hard to imagine a time when Amazon offers curated networks of lawyers providing services at pre-negotiated rates’

10 October

Human Rights Commission for England and Wales launches online human rights tracker.

10 October

US Legal Services Corporation announces its 2019 Technical grants.

12 October

Major onetime backers, including Mastercard and e-Bay, pull out of Facebook’s Libra crypto-currency.

14 October 

UK Guardian newspaper reports that ‘The UK government is accelerating the development of robots in the benefits system in a digitisation drive that vulnerable claimants fear could plunge them further into hunger and debt.’ ‘In an exclusive global series, the Guardian lays bare the tech revolution transforming the welfare system worldwide – while penalising the most vulnerable.’

15 October

Law Society publishes A Practical Guide to Legal Technology.

‘Google chief: I’d disclose smart speakers before guests enter my home’ reports BBC.

17 October

Forbes reports that ‘65% Of Companies Have Not Seen Business Gains From Their AI Investments’.

18 October

Legal Education Foundation funded project, AI Law Hub, reports that it ‘concluded that there is a very real possibility that the current use of governmental automated decision-making is breaching the existing equality law framework in the UK. What is more, it is “hidden” from sight due to the way in which the technology is being deployed.’ It published a detailed supporting legal opinion.

21 and 22 October

Clio, the cloud-based case management software business, holds its annual conference in San Diego and stakes out its claim to be the market leader for small and medium businesses. Clio publishes its 2019 Legal Tends report.

23 October

‘Google has today announced new steps to restrict debt services advertising only to firms meeting new accreditation standards. These will be subject to an application and approval process, and will take effect from mid-November,’ reports debt charity, Step Change.

30 October

EU stumps up £4m for Welsh innovation lab at Swansea University in what might be the dying days of UK membership.

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