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Tech & law: Tech delayed is tech denied

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Himanshu Gupta PortraitHimanshu Gupta PortraitHimanshu Gupta Portrait

By Himanshu Gupta

THE legal sector has witnessed a significant impact due to the rise in the adoption of technology. Though there has been a slow penetration of digitisation in the industry, digital work processes and portals have been introduced to make it easier for the legal community to function.

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The legal industry has always been associated with cumbersome methods of documentation and managing proceedings. This is where technology comes into the picture. It aims to increase efficiency and makes it easier for law professionals to carry out their work processes effectively.

Undeniably, technology is changing the legal practice at an exceptional rate and playing a subtle role in bringing a positive change in the industry. It is changing the legal landscape in India and leaving a positive impact on the masses. Ergo, delay/denial of technology will also cause an unnecessary delay in the justice system which is far from ideal. This makes the integration of technology important for the advancement of the rule of law.

Law practice vs clients
The adoption of technology in the legal industry is projected to have a vibrant future. In India, a whopping 2.81 crore cases are pending in district courts as per a report in 2018. However, the integration of artificial intelligence and other new technologies can help advance the legal practice. The backend work of the courts requires extensive use of technology to keep pace with the burgeoning number of piling litigations.

Furthermore, there are many legal companies and law firms that are leveraging technology to provide an array of online legal services. On the other hand, the courts are also exploring technology-driven solutions such as e-data, and search engines to improve efficiency and reduce the efforts to administer and adjudicate. As a result, the relationship between law professionals and clients has improved. It has become easy for law firms to understand the pain points of the clients and focus on meeting their expectations. Considering the uncertainties induced by the pandemic, there has been a paradigm shift from manual recording systems to electronic management. Furthermore, the widespread utilisation of the internet in video conferencing, evidence analysis, and legal research on different scenarios has advanced the legal practices.

Technology in Indian courts
In this fast-moving world, there is an exceptional need of infusing technology in the Indian judicial system. Computerisation of applications has already been initiated in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts in the 1990s. This minimises the wastage of time of the advocates spent in lengthy queues, detects errors, expedites rectification, calculation of court fees, etc.

On the other hand, the listing of business information systems (LOBIS) eliminates human interference in cause list generation and revamps the age-old systems. Technological advancement in the Indian judiciary helps litigants to get their queries answered online and get an update on their cases. In this regard, an interactive voice response system (IVRS) is used by litigants and advocates to know the status of their cases.

Apart from advancing the rule of law, technology plays a crucial role in improving the productivity and efficiency of legal professionals and their clients. By taking a majority of tasks online, it promotes a paperless environment. The process of filing FIRs, witness and criminal examination, and recording of evidence can be completed online. Through video conferencing, all stakeholders can save travel, time, and costs and get speedy disposal of cases. It also helps the judges analyse and determine the cases with online accessibility of precedents and legal propositions.

The writer is founder & CEO of Lawyered, a legal tech startup

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