The LawTechLab is Launching!


Invitation: Launch of the LawTechLab at Faculty of Law, UCT

UCT’s Faculty of Law is proud to announce that our LawTechLab will be launching on 15 April 2021. This lab is part of a new initiative to build a Center for Law and Technology at UCT. You are invited to attend this exciting online event where we will kick-start our year by tackling AI and the law.

Date: 15 April 17h00–19h30

LawTechLab.Africa is for You!

The LawTechLab is an exciting new space being created within UCT’s Faculty of Law for collaborative multidisciplinary research, the development of legal tools, and teaching and learning at the intersection of law and technology.

Gain hands-on experience with technologies and tools that are poised to revolutionise the legal landscape, including practical exposure to Artificial Intelligence, open public blockchains, and smart-contracts. The lab is a space where you can learn about technology to future proof your legal career. Learn; Experiment; Grow.

UCT’s LawTechLab offers:

  • A physical lab space to experiment with new technologies and learn about their effect on the law and legal practice. 
  • An opportunity to be a part of the development of new technological solutions to access-to-justice challenges with access to expert advice and a diverse user pool for rapid testing and feedback. 
  • Advice on the legal issues affecting African tech innovation.
  • Startup competitions!

If you are doing research, come and explore collaborative opportunities for interdisciplinary research on legal and regulatory issues in the digital space. 

We will offer training (including training for law and policy makers) and support in digital humanities research methods and data science research methodologies to facilitate research engagement with data. 

Compete at the Launch and Win!

At the launch event, we will tell you more about our new LawTechLab and you will have the opportunity to compete with your peers in short challenges:

  1. Guess which content was generated by AI and which was not.
  2. Improve an algorithm for predicting the sentence in criminal cases.

The best participants will win great prizes including:

  1. A mentorship programme with Alex Hamilton, CEO of Radiant Law!
  2. A CV review and mock interview with Radiant Law.
  3. Books sponsored by the African Legal Information Institute.

Learn how AI can predict whether an offender will re-offend, and what can go wrong!

The Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) is a prediction algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to predict whether offenders will re-offend. In 2016 the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, in State of Wisconsin vs Eric L Loomis, ruled that COMPAS risk scores can be considered by judges when sentencing. The COMPAS algorithm has been criticised:

  1. For compromising a defendant’s process rights.
  2. For being less accurate than humans and having similar accuracy to much less complicated algorithms.
  3. Because the algorithm is a “trade secret” and is not publicly available for inspection.
  4. For being racially biased.

At the launch, we will compare the prediction factors used by COMPAS with criteria which South African courts are required to consider when predicting re-offence risk in bail and sentencing hearings, explore data on the efficacy of the COMPAS system, and investigate whether we can build a better algorithm for predicting whether criminals will re-offend.

We look forward to seeing you there!