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Decalogue for better justice system with LegalTech after the COVID-19

The justice system, like all public services, has been overtaken in all European countries by the pandemic. COVID-19 has caught most public administration entities insufficiently prepared to offer the services and demands required by citizens. The usual volume of litigation has increased exponentially and it is expected to continue doing so in the coming months as a result of unforeseen circumstances such as the paralysis of economic activities, the forced social isolation that has increased confrontation and the questioning by some citizens of decisions taken by public authorities, amongst many other reasons.

In view of these circumstances, in most European countries the authorities responsible for justice are announcing their intention to reform their systems in order to be able to face these new challenges, viewing digital transformation as a solution to achieve this.

With more than 400 professionals from more than 30 countries, the mission of the European Legal Technology Association (ELTA) is to promote knowledge about Legal Tech and how to use it efficiently. This Decalogue aims to respond to this mission.

A working team led by María Jesús González-Espejo (Spain), Vice President of ELTA, and the following ambassadors of its network; Holger Zscheyge (Russia), Gregoire Miot (France) and Konstantinos Anagnostopoulos (Greece), have been responsible for its elaboration.

The Decalogue is mainly aimed at public officials in the administration of justice and parliamentarians, and its objective is to serve as a guide for designing future justice systems around citizens, and to deploy the most appropriate technologies to support modern and easy access to justice.

As a result of our reflections we are proposing a total of 10 guidelines, with a brief description and a concrete solution related to LegalTech to help make them effective. These are the 10 guidelines:

1. Justice with strategy

Reforming the justice system with long-term planning and a holistic vision, not with sporadic measures, based on the progressive achievement of small goals while involving all stakeholders in the design of the plan.

Proposed solutions: Creation of a record of successful LegalTech use-cases for a better justice system, which would serve as a model for justice leaders in charge of planning.

2. Justice with adequate funding and efficient expenditure

Justice systems must be provided with the necessary resources to achieve their digital goals and, at the same time, be wisely advised how to conduct efficient spending.

Proposed solutions: Creation of a European LegalTech record for justice and design of European programmes to promote the development of more made in Europe LegalTech.

3. Justice transformation or innovation in justice

Public operators should reflect on the desirability of automating existing systems or reviewing and redesigning them. It is crucial to avoid automatizing existing processes, which have already been proven to be inefficient, and instead try to redesign a new justice system to fit the requirements and needs of a digital society.

Proposed solutions: Use of methodologies such as Legal Design Thinking to review the existing systems and services and a set of regulatory sandboxes for the development and implementation of European LegalTech.

4. More and better open data for a better justice system 

More legal data should be open and accessible in order to allow intermediaries to develop more legal-related solutions.

Proposed solutions: Creation of a European register of legal datasets, that allows benchmarking on available datasets by category.

5. Transparency and citizen participation

Design and evaluate lawmaking transparently, with evidence, and with the support of citizens and other stakeholders. LegalTech can help achieve a more transparent and better justicesystem while encouraging an active citizen participation in policymaking, placing citizens in the centre of the legal system and justice administration.

Proposed solutions: Identify and offer European governments, from all levels, a set of procedures and tools to foster transparency and participation in law making.

6. Talented professionals for a better justice system  

It is of utmost importance to help legal professionals acquire the knowledge and skills they need in order to embrace and profit from justice innovation and to attract the right talent to work towards the goal of improving justice.

Proposed solutions:  Design policies to enforce the incorporation of technical studies into public law school’s curricula, as well as mandatory trainings for lawyers, design training programs for all the stakeholders and attract innovation and tech professionals into the positions responsible for reforming the justice system.

7  Non imposed virtuality as a rule and not as an exception

The citizen’s telematic relations with the justice administration system will be encouraged whenever possible but shall not be imposed in order to avoid creating a digital gap.

Proposed solutions: Introduce the obligation of making a “digital impact evaluation” in any project related to the administration of justice.

8. More simple and accessible justice  

The transformation should seek to simplify legal processes and the selected technology ought to offer a better experience to citizens.

Proposed solutions: Use of Legal Design thinking methodology to improve justice accessibility and limit the effects of legalese and, more specifically, tools such as citizens focus groups to tests new devices or procedures.

9. Citizens’ digital rights guaranteed 

Citizens must understand their digital rights and be able to exercise them. LegalTech should help achieve these goals.

Proposed solutions: Design programs to train citizens on such matters and promote the use of LegalTech that is always respectful of citizens’ rights.

10. Technology based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) & online dispute resolution (ODR) should be prioritised as solutions to improve justice problems 

Technology based alternative dispute resolution systems have the potential to solve conflicts in an easier, faster and less expensive way.

Proposed solutions: Identify the areas of justice where ADR and ODR could help to improve justice, modernize the regulatory framework and provide to all stakeholders of the justice ecosystem the appropriate LegalTech tools and platforms.

If you wish to know more about ELTA’s Decalogue  please contact:

English: María via email or Linkedin
French: Greg via email or Linkedin
German: Holger via email or Linkedin
Greek: Konstantinos via email or Linkedin
Russian: Holger via email or Linkedin
Spanish: María via email or Linkedin



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ELTA contributes to latest study of ECLA “Legal Departments in a Digital Era”

Legal Departments In a Digital Era: a pan-European study on building the modern, digitised legal department, is a joint effort by European Company Lawyers Association (ECLA) and Wolters Kluwer to provide a detailed look into the digital status of corporate legal departments across Europe. It highlights the priorities of in-house teams in the digital realm and showcases, how far along the digital journey legal departments in Europe are.ELTA’s Board and Ambassadors contributed with their expertise to this study.

The study acts as the starting point for understanding how legal departments are adapting to the digital era and what type of legal technology is prioritised in-house.

Legal Departments in a Digital Era will include overviews on:
> Current digital priorities of corporate legal departments
> The digital strategies of in-house teams
> The organisation and budget for increasing the digital maturity
> Practical experience with legal technology
> Expert opinions on the subject matter

Download study here

Additionally, ECLA and Wolters Kluwer pubslished also a brief article on “Perspective on implications of COVID-19 on the legal sectors”. The short term impact of COVID-19 on people, businesses and markets applies across sectors and market segments, and requires a range of immediate actions, while positioning for the strongest possible future. Consequently, the legal sector, and with that – corporate legal departments – will be affected, too. The legal industry, and the legal function within many businesses, is at an early stage of transformation, as becomes apparent from the study ‘Legal Departments in a Digital Era’. Will the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses change this?

Download article here

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The European Legal Tech Association (ELTA) renews its board of directors.

The European Legal Tech Association (ELTA) renewed its board of directors last week. Tobias Heining is ELTA’s new president. A founding member of ELTA, he is also Director of Business Development and Communications for CMS in Germany. Heining has extensive experience in the development of technology-based legal advisory products. From his point of view, “digitization will have a dominant footprint in the legal market, as it puts a focus on usability, accelerates commoditization, enables new ways of collaboration and allows scalability of legal services beyond human resources”. Therefore, his first objective will be to convince all people affected by this massive transformation to “think positively and become active designers of their own professional future”.

In its board of directors, Heining will be surrounded by professionals who are active in the fields of innovation and Legal Tech. One of its main supports will be María Jesús González-Espejo, co-founder of the Instituto de Innovación Legal and managing partner of Emprendelaw, expert in legal design thinking and promoter of innovative events such as the hackathon #HackTheJustice or the Legal Design Challenge. González-Espejo, who was already a member of ELTA’s previous board of directors, will assume a more proactive role in the design and development of the association’s activities. For her, “jurists are already aware that digital transformation must be among their priorities”, to which she added that “they also need to have a global vision, because technology may or may not come from abroad. Collective knowledge and diverse backgrounds are critical, and it is precisely something that ELTA affiliation will bring them.

Hariolf Wenzler, who has served as President since ELTA’s founding, becomes treasurer. He is the head of business development, marketing and communications of Baker Mckenzie’s EMEA+ offices and a member of the firm’s global innovation committee. He helped set up ReInvent Law, the first legal innovation hub in continental Europe.

Finally, Marie Bernard and Jeroen Zweers remain in the executive board. Bernard is the founder and managing director of Bleu de Prusse, a business transformation consultancy and Zweers is the innovation director of Kennedy Van der Laan, a Dutch law firm.

The new Board has set itself an agenda aimed at achieving the following objectives: to represent the Legal Tech industry interests at the European Union; to promote the solutions that Legal Tech can provide to lawyers, to create a professional network of people interested in its development and to contribute to the training of its members on the applications of
technology for the legal sector.

About ELTA: ELTA is made up of law firms, companies, legal technology providers, start-ups and individuals in Europe. The association considers itself as a specific platform for the promotion of knowledge about – and possible application of – technological and softwarebased solutions in the legal market, as well as their uses in companies, law firms, start-ups and other initiatives active in this field.

Contact us:

María Jesús González-Espejo

Tel. +34 650 78 15 92 – E-mail:

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