At the weekend the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) together with Baker McKenzie hosted the local leg of the Global Legal Hackathon 2019.

The hackathon took place in 24 countries between 22nd and 24rd February with eight local teams taking part in the challenge, addressing the issues of access to justice and the business of law.

The winners of the local event progress to the second round of the contest where they will have a shot at winning a place at the grand final in New York.

In first place was Kagiso.

Kagiso is described as “an online mediation platform that provides a cost-effective and fast alternative to lengthy court processes for civil disputes.”

The solution employs machine learning to match cases with mediators and stores records using blockchain technology. It’s a rather clever solution.

In second place was a solution knows as Bua. Bua allows victims of crime to record a statement in their own language on a mobile phone or at a kiosk. The solution addresses the vast amount of crimes that go unreported because victims feel uncomfortable giving statements in police stations where they can be mistranslated.

In third place was O Kae Molao which is a local language programme that offers legal advice to deal with certain issues. Viewers can SMS their queries to the show where probono lawyers can help them.

All of these solutions are great and we’re not jealous that HiiL had to select a winner.

“The work that the teams showed us on Sunday evening was by far the most consistently impressive that I’ve ever seen at an event of this kind,” HiiL’s Adam Oxford said in a statement.

“We were extremely impressed with the variety of innovative ideas presented at the Hackathon and we are sure Kagiso’s ideas will impress the judges in the next round.”

Speaking about the benefits of the hackathon, partner and head of the dispute resolution practice at Baker McKenzie, Darryl Bernstein, said “The rapid advancements in tools, technology and ways of working, constitute a huge opportunity for law firms to change their service delivery models in innovative ways. Events such as the Hackathon are the perfect breeding ground for these new ideas, and it was exciting to witness some of the innovative solutions that will change the future of law.”

Both Bua and O Kae Molao will receive tickets to attend the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest being held in Sandton in June.

HiiL also said that the top teams received a spot on the Futures Law Faculty Legal Tech Short Course thanks to AJM and Exigent.

For any legal or justice startups, the annual HiiL Innovating Justice Challenge is set to open for entries soon and we encourage you to sign up for that. As soon as entries open we’ll be sure to bring you all the details.