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Technology Task Force

The Technology Task Force’s “Regulatory Sandbox for Innovative Technological Legal Services” Report is scheduled for consideration on the April 22, 2021 Convocation agenda. If approved, a five-year pilot project will be launched in Q4 of 2021. 

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Emerging legal technologies have the potential to significantly impact the public, the legal professions, and the Law Society as a regulator.

The mandate of the Technology Task Force, composed of lawyer, paralegal and publicly-appointed lay benchers is to consider the role of technologies in the delivery of legal services, examine the Law Society’s role as a regulator in a changing, tech-enabled environment, and explore how the Law Society can encourage innovation in the professions through the use of tech to better deliver legal services.

In November 2019, the Task Force released an updated report which outlines its preliminary observations and work process. As an important next step in its work, the Task Force is recommending that Convocation approve its report proposing a regulatory sandbox.

If Convocation approves the report, a five-year pilot project will be launched in which approved participants will receive permission from the Law Society to serve consumers through innovative technological legal services (ITLS) while complying with requirements for risk-based monitoring and reporting.

The pilot project and its outcomes would help to fulfill the Law Society’s responsibilities as a public interest regulator by:

  • Facilitating access to justice: By eliminating regulatory uncertainty around ITLS, the pilot project removes barriers to the development of ITLS that could reach new consumers in new ways, especially in areas of unmet needs.
  • Protecting the public: The pilot project provides a mechanism to ensure ITLS consumers have the same type of safeguards available to clients of licensees: competent and ethical services, recourse when required, and the provision of relevant details enabling informed choices to be made about the providers of the services.
  • Informing future regulatory development: The pilot project will provide evidence to inform longer term decision-making about ITLS regulation. During the pilot period, the project team will report, at a minimum, annually to Convocation, thus enabling Convocation to review and potentially adjust rules, by-laws, or standards that participants have demonstrated can be satisfied in alternative ways.

The pilot project will also enable licensees to better understand how the public is using ITLS and the impact on legal service delivery. With this information, licensees can enhance their practices by using, adapting to, or developing ITLS tools.

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