A National Institute for Legal Innovation is needed as AI race accelerates

July 12, 2023

Last week, LegalUK called on the legal and business communities alongside Government to establish a new National Institute for Legal Innovation, as the UK faces greater competition from jurisdictions such as China.

Speaking at an event with attendees from across the legal, political, and business world, Richard Susskind, a Director of Legal UK and pioneer in legal and AI technology, said that the UK’s legal and common law heritage – while internationally admired – is no longer enough.

Instead, Susskind said, the UK needs to bring together the best legal and technology minds to harness the full power and potential of AI as an opportunity for the economy and the profession – not a threat.

The UK faces stiff competition from other jurisdictions. This includes China, who has plans to roll out an AI system to support the law by 2025; and the EU, who is leading the way on AI regulation.

The UK’s attempts to keep pace with change have, to date, been piecemeal and uncoordinated. Susskind said that while other disciplines already have national centres, there is currently no such body to advance law and legal services at the national level.

Susskind said that there is a clear opportunity for the UK to show how English law is the obvious choice in relation to AI and how our courts should take advantage of technological change – for example, by helping self-represented litigants to understand and enforce their legal entitlements.

The Institute would bring together the best legal minds in the UK to think deeply, undertake research, and develop new products and solutions that would bring significant economic and social advantages to the UK.

Prior to the event, Dr Richard Susskind said:

“Yesterday’s formula is not sustainable. We cannot rely on tradition to help us meet the challenges the UK justice and legal systems are facing. Technology is driving forward change at a rapid rate and to maintain our leadership, we need to innovate and embrace technology as a force for good.

“We are calling for the establishment of a new National Institute for Legal Innovation to systematically bring together the best legal minds and ensure we are ahead of the game and position ourselves as global leaders.

“Until now, the loudest voices have been those who see AI and technology as a problem, rather than the clear opportunity that it is. All the while, the pace of technological change is accelerating.

“The Institute will become a focal point in the UK for new thinking on how we improve access to justice, preserve our global position, and respond to the rapid development of technology.”

Related coverage:
In the media