NSW govt offers coders $250k to improve access to justice

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NSW govt offers coders $250k to improve access to justice

Innovation fund opens for a second time.

The NSW government has opened the second round of applications for a $250,000 innovation grant for technology solutions that reduce barriers to the justice system.

Access to the justice innovation fund (AJIF) is available to community groups, coders and entrepreneurs looking to solve problems that assist disadvantaged communities.

It is searching for low cost, high impact projects that, in particular, explore new methods of delivering legal assistance and help navigate the justice system.

The government has set aside $1 million for the AJIF over four years, with grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 annually from 2019.

Grants will be awarded to those from non-government organisations, not-for-profit organisations, or a businesses that provides services to people living in NSW.

The first round attracted 29 applications, with the Marrickville Legal Centre awarded the first $250,000 grant last year.

This led to the launch of an online chatbot, the New Age Legal Assistant (NALA), in December.

Using artificial intelligence, the bot assists vulnerable clients by answering common questions and automating administrative tasks, and can be scaled across community legal centres in NSW.

This affords the centre more client-facing time to solve in-depth issues and reduces wait times.

“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,” NSW attorney general Mark Speakman said.

“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.”

Applications close on March 15.

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