Greetings Factom Community -

I want to start off by saying thank you for the support in sending Ingo and I to Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan for the International Association of Court Administrators at the Supreme Court.  The event hosted 500 Administrators, Justices and Researchers from across the globe; each with the purpose of improving court performance through new methods and new technologies.  Among those in attendance were representatives from Australia, Brazil, England, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore just to name a few.

In attendance at our Blockchain in Court Systems Administration session were:

Judges from:

  • Dubai
  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • Saudi Arabia

Administrators from:

  • Dubai
  • Kazakhstan
  • Ukraine

Researchers from:

  • Bosnia
  • England
  • Kenya

Total attendance was about 45 people.  The session lasted for about 30 minutes followed by a 15 minute Q&A.  A few of the comments and questions asked followed by responses during the session were:

●      Q1: Libra will struggle in the EU because the world governments fear having a money monopoly by businesses rather than governments, while China is flirting with the idea to essentially achieve a competitive edge over the West. The West must remain active in looking for a better stablecoin alternative to Libra. (I am sure some of you working on PegNet are having these conversations behind closed doors).

●      A1: I am certainly not an expert on stablecoins, but there are several documents on the “state of stablecoins” and that a stablecoin project was being built in the Factom ecosystem.  There were no particular follow on questions or connections made concerning this

●      Q2: What is the benefit of blockchains with immutability features in issues relating to expungement?

●      A2: There are a number of ways in which expungement could be addressed, most specifically a loss of administrative access to specific blockchain stored data pertaining to a particular entity, person etc.

●      Q3: Is blockchain hackable?

●      A3: I addressed some of the most popular potential attacks on networks, addressed the difference between exchange hacks and protocol hacks and the current vulnerability of individual users without strong personal security measures.

●      Q4: Is there a future with AI and blockchain in helping reduce court case load?

●      A4: I mentioned a use case that revolved around my previous research at W&M with Tax Revenue forecasting and black-box methods for forecasting running into problems with transparency of model building

●      Q5: I noticed that you mentioned several times that the Factom protocol you work with is building enterprise solutions on top of an open source protocol. Is this akin to Android? If so, I see this type of model as propelling the usage of blockchain forward as it removes the need to understand the technicals and focus on the value add.

●      A5: This was a statement so the answer was “yes” :-)

Despite the strong focus on technology and process improvements and the array of software vendors in the Judicial space looking to narrow in, it was stated multiple times that some of the biggest challenges facing the courts today are:

  • Paper based records and traditional spreadsheets still dominant by a magnitude larger that would likely be thought
  • Inefficient case management and coordination plagues the justice system leading to increasing backlogs and ultimately major delays on cases
  • No real system to monitor caseloads that lead to the inability to reach a consensus on proper case management and coordination

And these issues are not adequately addressed according to the law society because of some of the following:

  • widespread confusion, variation, and fragmentation
  • access to common data and lack of trust
  • inequality of resources in providers and limited offer of products available for non-commercial purposes
  • duplication and repetition
  • time, capacity, and skills
    capabilities, digital literacy, and legal literacy
  • funding
  • regulatory concerns (GDPR and Data Protection, Professional Indemnity Insurance, Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Handbook).

Many of these hurdles can be overcome, and the conclusion that I reached was that the courts are looking for a partner to help them navigate through the pool of potential vendors, help with proper education of emerging technology, and training for key personnel across their institutions to adequately assess and implement pilot projects and, ultimately, institutional transformation.

As a result of the presentation, Ingo and I were able to exchange information and have scheduled follow ups with several jurists and administrators from several MENA and Central Asian countries that have strong potential for follow on consulting and education.  Updates on conversations and future meetings will be given as they become available.

A few takeaways that Ingo and I had after the conference were the following:

  • The vendor community for court products is crowded, but no clear dominance in the space exists.
  • Relationships, trust, and education are key to getting in and separating yourself from the pack with courts
  • Online dispute resolution (ODR) is an innovation that most courts are exploring/will explore and blockchain/smart contract based ODR solution may be the first legitimate use cases for the courts in many jurisdictions.

Again, we are very grateful for the support from the community. Ingo and I are excited for the opportunity to take up the mantle for addressing this specific industry utilizing Factom for product development - where appropriate - through partnerships with existing ANOs or inhouse development. We will continue to update the community as things develop.

Posted by Greg Forst

Written by Troy Wiipongwii