The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) has announced the regional semi-finals for its annual Innovating Justice Challenge, seven of which are from SA and Zimbabwe.
The semi-finalists are Comic Contracts, Lady Liberty, MoLLy, NuvaLaw, Road Rules, TIZ and ZELA. They will pitch their ideas to a panel during the Innovating Justice Boostcamp event in Maboneng, Johannesburg, on 13 October.
The South African semi-finalists are NuvaLaw, which digitises legal information to make it easier for insurance firms to settle claims; Lady Liberty, which provides mobile legal aid to women in rural areas; and Comic Contracts, which visualises the law in drawings for illiterate people.
Successful finalists will have access to up to €20 000 (R300 000) in equity-free grant money, and earn a place in the six-month HiiL Justice Accelerator, a business development programme specialising in growing start-ups focused on sustainable solutions to justice and legal problems.
There were 601 innovations submitted from 65 countries in this year’s challenge, including 80 from the Southern Africa region.
“The number and quality of entries that HiiL received this year shows the justice sector is ripe for disruption, with hundreds of like-minded innovators all thinking about how new technology and ideas can improve access to justice for all,” says head of the Justice Accelerator, Wilfried de Wever.
“We’ve seen that every aspect of the law and its implementation is being challenged. In every country in which we operate, people are finding novel ways to improve justice systems. The challenge for HiiL is now to look at how we can support ever-more innovators globally in their work.”
As well as the semi-final pitching session, the Innovating Justice Boostcamp event will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions and interactive working sessions.
Justice pain points such as crime and law enforcement, migration and human trafficking, land and property rights, family justice, neighbour disputes, and employment justice will be discussed.
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