Law Society: Ethics principles to guide lawtech development

The Law Society has stepped up the debate about the governance of digital legal services by publishing a set of ethics principles to guide the development and use of lawtech.

Society president I. Stephanie Boyce announced the principles last night in a presidential address marking the re-opening of 113 Chancery Lane.

Boyce described the principles as the culmination of two years of work, including consultations with law firms, developers and regulators.

The principles are:
  • Compliance: “The design, development and use of lawtech must comply with all applicable regulations.”
  • Lawfulness: “Lawtech should be underpinned by the rule of law.”
  • Capability: “Lawtech producers and operators should understand the functionality, benefit, limitations and risks of products used in the course of their work.”
  • Transparency: “Information on how a lawtech solution has been designed, deployed and used should be accessible for the lawtech operator and for the client.”
  • Accountability: “Lawtech should have an appropriate level of oversight when used to deliver or provide legal services.”
Boyce added:

“All five of these exist under one overarching principle: that of client care,’ Boyce said. ‘The client should be at the centre of lawtech, determining business requirements and how to consider the other principles in a proportionate way.”

In her speech, Boyce also spoke of her personal mission ‘to leave the profession more diverse and inclusive than the one I entered’. She announced the award of 15 scholarships in the Society’s Diversity Access Scheme, which supports aspiring solicitors from less advantaged backgrounds.

Boyce said:

“We had some truly outstanding candidates and the beneficiaries are a very impressive and diverse set of individuals from less advantaged backgrounds or who have faced multiple obstacles. All of them, we are sure, will be a credit to the profession.”

The presidential address was delivered simultaneously online and to an invited audience in the Law Society’s common room – the first such in-person event since the start of lockdown last year.


Kindly shared by The Law Society Gazette

Main photo courtesy of Pixabay