Technology’s impact on Legal Services

According to the HiiL (Hague Institute for Innovations of Law) Report on Justice Needs in Uganda 2016, 88 % of Ugandans have experienced one or more serious and difficult to resolve justice need in the past four years and only 1% had the assistance of a lawyer in solving their legal problem. It was reported that it takes an average of 90 days to hear a court case in rural Uganda without necessarily resolving it. The result is frustration with the system where clients just give up or resort to unproductive self help remedies including violence against the other party.

Justice Entrepreneurship Class 2017

The Chief Justice of Uganda at the Hague attending the Guild Justice forum

The Chief Justice of Uganda together with L4F’s Ed, Hellen Mukasa attending theGUiLd Justice Forum in Geneva

Over 1860 Successful messages exchanged

Solved cases

Active users

Lawyers 4 Farmers (L4F), an initiative of Kampala Legal Aid which I co-founded 1 year ago is a good example. L4F eases access of farmers to basic legal information and services.   We’ve set up an SMS based platform through which we disseminate free legal information to farmers broken down into short, easy to understand text messages. The platform is interactive so farmers can ask a question and receive response instantly. Over 1860 messages have so far been exchanged through this platform with 828 active users in the Northern region (Dokolo and Lira) and Central region (Luweero and Masaka).

The automated response mechanism enables the lawyers to set up a follow up phone call or meeting with the farmers. This cuts the farmers’ cost of travel to access legal information or services and increases their knowledge of their rights. While only 124 cases have so far been solved directly, a survey indicates that the legal information L4F disseminates has enabled resolution of some disputes and deterred occurrence or aggravation of others.

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