Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Details

Panel discussion and debate at the Research Week 2017 - 'Law without Lawyers'

Held at the Bond University, Gold Coast on 19 October 2017

Distribution License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


It has been predicted that emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, ‘lawbots’, smart contracts, automated dispute resolution services and the like will soon replace human lawyers in the delivery of some, most or even all legal services. How persuasive is this claim, and if it does have merit, what are the implications of ‘law without lawyers’ for the rule of law, for justice, for the community, and for law students and lawyers themselves? Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLE) will investigate these questions in a one day symposium titled ‘Law Without Lawyers’. The symposium will explore in depth the likely impact of technological innovation on the practice of law, and the implications – both positive and negative – of the possibility that legal services will be delivered without the direct involvement of human lawyers. The symposium will include a keynote address, a panel discussion and debate, and an interactive workshop. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. Legal practitioners will be eligible to earn up to 3 CPD points for their attendance at the symposium.

Accepting that at least some legal services will no longer be delivered by lawyers, a panel of legal academics and practitioners will discuss and debate the implications and consequences – both positive and negative – of the absence of human lawyers for clients, for the legal system, for the rule of law, for justice, for the wider community, and for lawyers and law students.

Session 2 will be a hypothetical set in 2022. The panel will explore the legal, social and practical implications of the technologies presented in Session 1. The hypothetical will touch upon the implications of the technologies for the quality and effectiveness of legal services, the rule of law, and access to justice. Nick will walk the panel and the audience through the scenario. At various points in the scenario, the panellists will be asked to offer commentary or observations. These points are indicated in the scenario notes below. Other panellists are welcome – in fact, encouraged – to offer further commentary once the identified panellist has spoken.

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