Students at UNSW Law School will soon be trading lines of judgments for code with a hackathon being run in mid July.

HackJustice, will take problems faced by community legal centres on campus and pose them to teams of students and developers. Teams will then work together over the course of three consecutive days to build technology based solutions to the issues. The solutions will then be pitched to a panel of judges, with the best ideas winning prizes and possibly having their solutions implemented by the legal centre.

Although HackJustice is a student run initiative, it is hoped that the event will act as the catalyst for change in Australian tertiary legal education. Technolegem creator, Adrian Agius is part of the team delivering HackJustice to UNSW. He notes, that there is a disparity between what the industry is demanding and law schools are delivering.

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Technolegem is one of many sponsors bringing the hackathon to UNSW Law

“Modern Australian law degrees are hardly modern at all. They do not account for the changing nature of the legal industry, issues of technology in law or new technologies in legal practice.

This largely comes down to the fact that those who prescribe what is to be included in a law degree, have chosen not to engage with these concepts. And this limits the capacity of law schools to think beyond the current curriculum.

Events such as the hackathon provide students with the opportunity to engage with technology and law in a free-thinking environment. It is my hope that the event encourages those in high-places to make necessary changes to the curriculum.”

Event enabler, the Coder Factory Academy, aims to teach people everywhere how to code. Academic Director, Peter Argent believes the hackathon is an excellent way for students to get a taste of how they can use technology to empower the values that underpin legal practice.

Hackney legal centre in the UK recently held a successful law based hackathon.

“It’s great to see law students embracing technology and looking for ways to make justice more accessible to everyone.

The legal profession is in the process of being disrupted by tech startups so it’s important for law students to learn more about technology and be involved in hackathons.”

The hackathon is scheduled to take place across the 18th, 19th and 20th of July at UNSW Law School. Event registration is still open for students wishing to participate.

Aside from the hackathon, there will also be a launch event comprising of guest speakers and a closing event where teams will pitch their solutions. The public is more than welcome to attend.

For more information, check out the HackJustice website.

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