LawTech.Asia

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Category: Data Privacy

Legal Technology in Singapore: Second Edition

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Written by Cai Xiaohan, Tristan Koh, Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

In October 2018, LawTech.Asia published the first-ever detailed outline of the legal technology sector in Singapore. It was the result of a months-long project to map out the root, state and outlook of the legal technology sector in Singapore, and furthers LawTech.Asia’s fundamental purpose of improving awareness, knowledge and interest in legal technology. The article was imagined as a “living document” that will continue to be updated as more news comes to the fore.

Much has happened in the legal tech scene in Singapore since then. To encapsulate these developments, LawTech.Asia is proud to present the second edition of “Legal Technology in Singapore”.

Our first edition had argued that Singapore is currently in the midst of a “legal tech revolution”, which began sometime in 2015 and which was spearheaded by the government in Singapore. The past year has seen the government invest even more resources into new initiatives to support legal tech adoption, and this edition of our article has been updated to include the following new developments: 

  1. Recent statements by the Judiciary on legal tech in Singapore;
  2. New assistance schemes to support the adoption of technology in Singapore, such as:
    • Asia’s first legal tech accelerator, GLIDE by FLIP;
    • Tech-celerate for Law by the Law Society of Singapore, which will fund legal tech adoption by law firms;
    • Advancement of legal tech in the State Courts;
    • The establishment of the SmartLaw Guild;
  3. The new creation of legal tech office-holders in public sector institutions; and
  4. The development of tech-related curricula in local law schools.

In this second edition, we also posit that the Singapore legal tech revolution has entered into a new phase: new ground-up initiatives in the legal profession to support legal tech adoption. We suggest that more law firms, law students, and legal tech solution providers have started their own initiatives to encourage legal tech adoption. This new edition of our article covers, in particular, the law firms which have championed legal tech adoption by being early adopters, producing their own technology, or launching their own legal tech incubators / accelerators.

In our first edition of the article, we had also outlined three forces influencing the development of Singapore’s legal tech revolution: the liberalisation and internationalisation of Singapore’s legal industry; the increasing sophistication of clients; and increasing technological capability. In this second edition, we introduce a fourth influence: the progressive changes in Singapore substantive laws. We argue that, as Singapore’s lawmakers introduce progressive laws which encourage, rather than inhibit, legal tech growth, this would also shape the course of the legal tech revolution for the better. Laws discussed include the passing of the Payment Services Act 2019 as well as the proposed amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act.

To access the updated version of the article, “Legal Technology in Singapore”, click here!

As before, the authors wish to express thanks for the innumerable sources of information available online, without which this project would not have been possible. Any mistakes herein remain the authors’ own.

Joint Call For Papers Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law

Reading time: 2 minutesTechnology disrupts for the better of those prepared. Legal practice is hardly impervious to the implications that technology brings. The advent of blockchain and machine learning technologies is an opportunity, and a potential cost if not pursued. Conversely, the use of technology is equally subject to legal regimes and institutions. Developing a sensitivity to the mutual interaction of the two forces is of utmost urgency as governments and peoples search for a firm footing.

The Singapore Law Review (“SLR”), Asia’s oldest student-run legal publication, and LawTech.Asia, Southeast Asia’s foremost law and technology review, are collaborating on a special issue of the Singapore Law Review journal and LawTech.Asia online publication on the theme “Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law”.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Yeong Zee Kin, PDPC

Reading time: 4 minutesInterview by Josh Lee | Edited by Amelia Chew

LawTech.Asia had the privilege of being a media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018. The inaugural TechLaw.Fest held from 4 to 6 April 2018 saw the convergence of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. During TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team met with various speakers, exhibitors and attendees to learn more about the work that they do and their experience at the conference.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Yeong Zee Kin, Assistant Chief Executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Deputy Commissioner of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC). Zee Kin was a panelist on the Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation panel and the chairperson of the Legal Issues in Legal Tech panel.

Having participated in two panels over the course of TechLaw.Fest 2018, what were some of your key takeaways from the two panels that you were in?

Both panels revolved around the same theme but we approached it from different directions. The first panel (“Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation”) approached it from the perspective of the regulator and examined what kind of regulations are required. This panel focused more on potential regulatory models and discussed different perspectives of how regulatory sandboxes are used. The FinTech Regulatory Sandbox by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is one such regime that allows for the ability to control license terms. There are some guidelines that we can potentially look to, such as the materiality test for determining when the risk becomes material and regulation should kick in.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Hugh Mason, JFDI.Asia

Reading time: 6 minutesInterview by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will bring together leading Technology Law thinkers and Legal Technology vendors from 4 to 6 April 2018 at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore. Within it, the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon will be an intense, fast-paced 48-hour event challenging legal professionals, software developers and designers to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems faced by lawyers, in-house counsels and users of legal services. The event has a particular focus on personal data protection and the challenges faced by data protection officers (DPOs) in Singapore. The top three teams will receive prize vouchers worth up to $12,000 and the opportunity to develop their solutions further under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) Accelerator Programme.

Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI.Asia, is partnering with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) to operate the FLIP Accelerator and will also serve as a judge in the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon. Here, the LawTech.Asia team asked him how he saw teams from the hackathon following through to make their ideas real.

We understand that you will be running the accelerator programme under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). How does this fit into SAL’s Legal Tech Vision?

One way of thinking about innovation is to see it on three ‘Horizons’.

Horizon 1 is the known world of work we see today: the core business of lawyers and their clients as we know it. Here we are looking for efficiency savings by using off-the-shelf productivity tools. The LIFTED programme at SAL addresses this aspect of the SAL Legal Tech Vision, as does the incubator at Collision 8.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Associate Professor Warren Chik, Singapore Management University School of Law

Reading time: 4 minutesInterview by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of Technology Law and Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Professor Warren Chik, Associate Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law. Among other things, Prof Chik specialises in topics such as Innovation, Technology and the Law.

At TechLaw.Fest 2018, Prof Chik will be moderating a discussion titled, “Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation”, which features a diverse panel of representatives from the private sector, lawyers, regulators and the finance industry. He will also be a participating in a panel on “Wising-up to the Mass Distribution of False Information”.

Image credit: SMU School of Law

Smart technology is the bedrock of the Smart Nation initiative. What are the regulatory approaches available for the regulation of smart technology?

Preliminarily, it’s important to remember that the kinds of  regulation needed in one field may be different from the type of regulation needed in another field. So, for instance, the regulation of data may be different from the regulation of the finance industry.

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

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We are proud to be recognised an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, the inaugural TechLaw.Fest 2018 (held from 4 to 6 April 2018) is a convention that will be the focal point of leading thinkers in technology law and legal technology.

Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2018 include:

  • A main conference themed “Smart Regulations for a Digital Economy”, which will dive deep into novel regulatory approaches tested to help societies and businesses navigate the world of rapid technology growth and the accompanying legal issues.
  • Over 50 prominent speakers, who will speak about and lead panel discussions on smart regulations and technologies and the impact of technology on legal practice.
  • Sessions, panels, dialogues, exhibitions, hackathons, masterclasses and workshops on all things law and technology (and in-between), with a target audience of 3,000 visitors and 500 delegates comprising of lawyers, policymakers, technologists and business vendors.

From now to April 2016, the LawTech.Asia team will bring you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. These speakers include key leaders from:

  • Intelllex
  • Law Society of Singapore
  • Microsoft Singapore
  • ROSS Intelligence
  • Singapore Management University
  • Uber Asia Pacific
  • And more!

LawTech.Asia readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that gives you a discount off full-price passes for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, please like the LawTech.Asia Facebook page and join the Legal Hackers SG Facebook group.   

We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2018!

We also wish to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!

The LawTech.Asia Team

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