Thursday, 28 January 2021 11:29

NSW offers grants for tech solutions to reduce barriers to justice system

Mark Speakman: “If you have a proposal for an inventive, low-cost, high-impact project with a focus on socially and economically disadvantaged communities, we want to hear from you.” Mark Speakman: “If you have a proposal for an inventive, low-cost, high-impact project with a focus on socially and economically disadvantaged communities, we want to hear from you.” Supplied

The NSW Government is offering $250,000 in grants for ideas that use technology to reduce barriers to the state's justice system for those who need it the most.

In a statement on Thursday, the government said grants of between $50,000 and $250,000 would be given as part of the latest round of the Access to Justice Innovation Fund.

Applications can be lodged from 1 February until 15 March and lawyers, community groups, coders and social entrepreneurs were asked to put forward innovative proposals that could improve the dispensation of justice.

The NSW Government pointed to the New Age Legal Assistant chatbot developed by the Marrackville Legal Centre as an example of the use of technology to serve justice. This chatbot was put online in December and the centre was the first to receive $250,000 for its work.

"The LegalBot technology harnesses artificial intelligence to help vulnerable clients and is capable of being rolled out at Community Legal Centres across the state," the government said.

"NALA answers commonly-asked questions in real time, automating straightforward administrative tasks such as traffic fines and rental bond issues.

"This frees up Community Legal Centre staff to assist clients personally with more complex problems, slashing wait times for hundreds of people each week."

NSW attorney-general Mark Speakman said: “We encourage ideas from legal professionals, community groups, coders and social entrepreneurs that improve the way legal problems are resolved, or help people navigate the justice system.

“If you have a proposal for an inventive, low-cost, high-impact project with a focus on socially and economically disadvantaged communities, we want to hear from you.”

Non-government organisations, not-for-profit organisations, or a business that provides services to people living in NSW are eligible for the grants. Private individuals who want to apply have to do so through partnership with an organisational entity.

Applications can be submitted online and more information is available from

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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