09 Dec 2020

Five legaltech start-ups admitted to new UK regulatory sandbox

Project to boost innovation by helping companies surmount regulatory hurdles reaches key stage

The City of London Shutterstock

The first five legaltech start-ups to be given access to a new UK government-backed regulatory sandbox have been unveiled.

The successful applicants will join the Lawtech Sandbox, allowing them to access regulators for ‘advice, support and assurance to help navigate regulations and governance issues’.

They were chosen from 65 applications by a panel overseen by LawtechUK and can now look forward to ‘access to useful legal datasets and a fast-response forum of eleven cross-sector regulators’. 

Jenifer Swallow, LawtechUK director, said: “The Lawtech Sandbox is designed to accelerate digital transformation of the legal sector by providing targeted support to those who are building game-changing lawtech, working alongside them to help raise the bar for business and society.”

The cohort is made up of:

  • Amplifi, which uses natural language processing to demystify legal documents
  • Clause, which aims to provide 'an open-source library of machine-readable legal documents and file transformation technologies’
  • ClauseMatch – a compliance management automation tool
  • The Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab – a risk avoidance tool, which analyses data to flag the early warning signs of an emerging dispute
  • Legal Utopia, which is targeted at small businesses and aims to help them meet their legal needs in an affordable way.

The Sandbox has the backing of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Legal Services Board, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Ministry of Justice and is inspired by the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory sandbox, which has been credited with kickstarting the UK’s burgeoning fintech sector.

Plans for the sandbox were announced in May by the technology industry body Tech Nation, which has teamed up with the government-backed Lawtech Delivery Panel and the Ministry of Justice to create LawTech UK, the umbrella for a range of initiatives to boost the legal tech industry. It has £2m of public funding at its disposal.

London is one of a number of cities vying to become the world's preeminent legaltech hub, which also include Singapore and Barcelona. 

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