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DBS, Singapore Judiciary organise hackathon to enhance social justice

DBS and the Singapore Judiciary are jointly organising an inaugural hackathon to encourage those with a passion for the law to use it as a "force for good" by exploring innovative solutions to enhance social justice.

Thirty-seven teams, comprising practising lawyers, legal technologists, law students and staff from DBS and the Singapore Judiciary, have signed up to take part, DBS said in a statement on Monday.

The two organisers are looking to encourage the community to reimagine access to justice in the post-Covid-19 era, in the face of impending shifts in the political, social and business landscapes. They hope to foster a better understanding of social justice in Singapore while creating a platform for participants to nurture creative ideas for furthering legal innovation.

They will be challenged to "hack" problem statements developed by DBS and the Singapore Judiciary, such as:

  • What role can the legal profession play to help everyone in society have better access to justice?
  • How can businesses and the legal system collaborate to provide easier access to justice and improve customer experiences?
  • How can the justice system become more agile and responsive to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving society?

The hackathon marks the first such tie-up between the Singapore Judiciary and a private corporation to encourage public innovation in the justice system, DBS said.

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Hackathon for a Better World will adopt a "learn-as-you-hack" format, in which participants will work on their problem statements over three months through an iterative process. This is unlike the usual hackathon format, in which participants solve problem statements over a few hours or a few days. 

Participants will submit their pitches by July 27 and undergo a design-thinking masterclass by DBS. Participants will also be able to check in with mentors from DBS, the Singapore Judiciary and volunteers from Singapore's legal community for additional guidance. 

All submissions will be judged at Tech.Law Fest 2020, now scheduled on Oct 1. Winners will be announced at a date shortly after. (see amendment note)

Lam Chee Kin, DBS group head of legal, compliance and secretariat, said: "A post-pandemic world will still need to find common ground for trade and international relations, cultivated on universal and foundational concepts such as rule of law and access to justice."

Tan Ken Hwee, Singapore Judiciary chief transformation and innovation officer said: "Learning from proven innovation frameworks used in leading private-sector companies can enhance legal transformation and innovation and enhance access to justice."

Amendment note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the date when winners for the hackathon will be announced as Oct 1 - the date of Tech.Law Fest 2020 - when it is in fact on a date shortly after the event. 

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