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Friday, 21 July 2017
University team reach finals of 'Online Courts Hackathon'
The team receive the 'Coolest Tech' award from Lord Thomas

A team of Cambridge University students participated in the "Online Courts Hackathon" which was held over a 24 hour period on 1-2 July. Over 200 participants from law firms, universities and technology companies formed teams, including lawyers/law students, coders and designers from the UK, Europe and even Australia. The Hackathon was organised by the Society for Computers and Law, Legal Geek, the Judiciary of England and Wales and HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

The Cambridge team developed a machine learning-based, outcome prediction tool for litigants in person.  Out of thirty teams competing, they reached the final, and were awarded the "Coolest Tech" award. 

The members of the team representing the University were:

  • Damien Charlotin (PhD, Law, Corpus Christi College)
  • Anny Park and Anna Wrench (Undergraduates, Law, Sidney Sussex College)
  • Nikul Vadgama (Engineering, Corpus Christi College)
  • Sivo Daskalov (Computer Science, Corpus Christi College)
  • Ed Ayers (Maths, Corpus Christi College)
  • Richard Strauss (A government lawyer attached to the team)

The Hackathon was a truly exhilirating (and exhausting) experience.Damien Charlotin

Reflecting on his experiences at the event, Damien Charlotin said:

"The Hackathon was a truly exhilirating (and exhausting) experience. We chose to develop a machine learning model that would try to find what elements (mostly factual, with as little 'legalese' as possible) could predict the outcome of unfair or wrongful dismissal claims, to help litigants in person assess their odds. The solution (which we called 'ClaimR') would also compare the users to previous litigants in their position and assess the expected compensation for their claims. All this information would inform litigants-in-person who could then participate in a 'blind bidding' system incorporated in the solution."

For more information, see the Online Courts Hackathon website.