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Singapore public can resolve motor accidents disputes online from year-end

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An online dispute resolution platform for motor accident claims is expected to be launched in phases at the end of this year, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced at the opening of the legal year on Monday.

AN online dispute resolution platform for motor accident claims is expected to be launched in phases at the end of this year, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced at the opening of the legal year on Monday.

The platform, featuring an outcome simulator as well as a facility for mediation and settlement, is to enable the public to resolve motor accidents disputes online - very likely at a lower cost.

This is one of the initiatives of the Courts of the Future Taskforce to develop self-help solutions for litigants, devise technology solutions for the efficient administration of justice, and adopt the intelligent use of data.

CJ Menon in his speech also urged lawyers to adapt to change as the forces of globalisation, technology and the commercialisation of the law threaten to reshape the face of the law.

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He pointed out technology has transformed how and where disputes are resolved. For instance, simple and low-value consumer disputes are being resolved outside courtrooms through online dispute resolution systems adopted by e-commerce platforms. Besides these, who should resolve a dispute is also being transformed by technology. 

A survey by The Law Society of Singapore showed that the majority of decision makers in Singapore law firms who responded to the questionnaire recognised the value of legaltech, said president of the Law Society Gregory Vijayendran in his speech. But only slightly more than half the decision makers viewed legal technology as a practice elevator or business enabler.

A separate online survey, commissioned by the Law Society and Singapore Academy of Law, drew responses from 126 in-house counsel in different industries, which disclosed that their clients are facing cost pressures and looking at investing in their own legal technology to reduce outsourcing.

Nearly 60 per cent of in-house counsel respondents will implement more legal technology in the next two years. This disruption poses a threat to Singapore law firms that are not nimble.

As for the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC), Attorney-General Lucien Wong in his speech took stock of the technological initiatives the organisation has embarked on, and said that it has made significant efforts to structure the organisation to be at the forefront of cutting edge legal technology.

He also said that the AGC is on track to launch in 2019 an end-to-end digital workbench designed to serve almost all of the organisation's legal work needs. The main aim of the digital workbench, known as Intelligent Workspace is to leverage information technology so that its officers can spend more time delivering quality work and less time on administration.

Further, its Legal Technology and Innovation Office, which was formed in 2017, is piloting and scaling up solutions to tap artificial intelligence and other tools to improve the AGC's depth and breadth in legal expertise.