Around and about the legal web September 2020


FutureLearn provide structured online learning courses in partnership with hundreds of universities and other bodies. These cover all subject areas and range from short courses, through professional accreditation programmes, to university degrees.

Courses are divided into “weeks” of prescribed activities. You can learn by watching videos, listening to audio and reading articles. Many of these steps are followed by short quizzes to help you check that you have understood.

They may be started at any time after they are published (and can be done to any timescale) and are free to access for their duration plus 14 days, regardless of when joined. Continuing access and other facilities are available on upgrade to a paid subscription.

In the Law subject area, there are currently two courses which should appeal to Newsletter readers and may well be useful in completing this year’s CPD/competence requirements.

AI for Legal Professionals (I): Law and Policy (4 weeks of 3 hours per week) is produced by Mark Shope, an Assistant Professor of Law at the National Chiao Tung University School of Law in Hsinchu, Taiwan. It explores the legal and policy issues surrounding the development and application of artificial intelligence. Topics include:

  • Transparency
  • Algorithmic bias
  • AI and human rights
  • Regulating artificial intelligence
  • AI, the judiciary, and the practice of law

The Modern Judiciary: Who They Are, What They Do and Why it Matters (5 weeks of 3 hours per week) is produced by King’s College London, with the Judiciary of England and Wales, and presented by James Lee, an academic at The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College. It explores the role of judges in the UK and informs about the daily business of judging, from common law to judicial diversity, and is divided into topics as follows:

  • The Legal System
  • Legal Reasoning
  • Judging in Courts and Tribunals
  • Beyond the Court Room
  • Judges, the Media and the Public

The Future of Courts

In this article for The Practice from Harvard Law School, Richard Susskind considers the impact of Covid-19 on our courts. He outlines the challenges that our justice systems currently face and suggests we need a new mind set if we are to tackle these successfully. He then introduces the various types of remote courts that have been deployed during the crisis and summarise what has been achieved so far and what lessons we have learned. He then explores other aspects of online courts and concludes by recommending how courts should plan for the future.

This is very much a necessary follow-up “chapter” to his book Online Courts and the Future of Justice. in light of the rapid transformation necessitated by the restrictions and limitations to pre-existing practice imposed by Covid-19.


LawtechUK is a collaborative initiative between Tech Nation, the government-backed Lawtech Delivery Panel and the Ministry of Justice, to support the digital transformation of the UK legal sector. It will focus on increasing awareness and understanding of lawtech and fostering transformative innovation for the legal sector. Its work programme will include a government-backed Lawtech Sandbox for innovative R&D, and the development of new platforms, toolkits and online training.

It does not at present have its own website, requiring navigation within the Tech Nation site at But there’s a Twitter feed @LawtechUK to keep you up to date and a YouTube channel, hosting some worthy debates.