How many times have you heard someone tell you that they were wary of approaching a lawyer or a court to get justice? Chances are that you heard this countless times. People are generally wary of the long-winding, time-consuming and complicated processes involved in their search for justice.
The recently released India Justice Report says that one billion in India do not have access to justice. It is a fact that thousands of people grapple daily with confusing legal issues and get intimidated with the labyrinth of laws and processes involved.
However, with artificial intelligence and technology now available, the scenario might just change as far as legal dispute resolutions go making it smoother, transparent and faster with a new app called LegalKart.
You just have to install the free app and put down your legal dilemma. The app will send you a list of lawyers for you to choose from in your geographical location. You can then check the background of the lawyers and their reputation. You can figure out which of the lawyers on the list sent to you are competent to handle your particular case and who is also financially reasonable. You can talk to them to figure out your comfort level. Once you have zeroed on to the lawyer you want to hire, you can track every procedure in that case thereafter right from the initial meeting with the lawyer, filing of the case, the date and timing of hearing, the procedures during the hearing and the progress of the case as it is heard. The arguments, the noting, the remarks of the judge and every little nitty-gritty would be available to the complainant right till the end of the case.
The process will make it easy for the complainant to know and easily understand how the case is evolving and where it stands on any particular date. Today, they are left to the mercy of lawyers who tell them little and keep prolonging the case seeking one adjournment after another. Dr. Sanjeev Khanna, senior vice-president, Patanjali, told Outlook: “I found the app wonderful when I was struck with a personal issue and needed legal help and advice for my son. It was very supportive and it means a lot when you are under stress and are at a loss on how to handle a sticky legal issue. At one stage, it felt like talking to a friend. The app helped me find a reliable and reasonable lawyer. I could make informed choices due to the guidance provided as we went through the legal process. What I liked the most was the structured and transparent process even in matters of payment.” Dr. Khanna is now using the app for handling corporate issues.
The app works well for lawyers too. Today, there are thousands of lawyers desperately looking for clients in every court in India. Normally, it takes them about seven to eight years for cases to flow in easily as they establish themselves. But, now if they have registered themselves with the app, they would get more cases than they usually handle. This will probably lead to less adjournments as they will not try to inordinately prolong cases as they would have so many cases on their plate.
Hopefully, this will result in cases being disposed faster than before. Delhi based lawyer Sandeep Dahiya said that the app is great for young lawyers who had just started their careers as they would find it difficult to get cases on their own. He says the number of cases he handles now is much larger than before and as the app is not expensive, it can be used by young lawyers who have yet to establish themselves.
While the app helps lawyers get more clients, it will also help clients easily reach out to a lawyer of their liking and comfort. Lawyers are likely to be motivated to work towards improving their legal service delivery so that their exemplary work ends up in getting more cases. Pune based advocate Vaibhav Vasantrao Hatwar says that the number of his cases has increased after using the app. “It is good for laymen too as they can easily find suitable lawyers,” he said.
LegalKart is a free to download app and if lawyers want to use the services provided, they could subscribe to it. There are two kinds of annual subscription charges of Rs. 1499 and Rs. 4999 depending on the usage and size of practice. The basic app is free to use for all lawyers. For individuals and businesses, the app is free to use and they pay only for the availed services.
Using this app, lawyers can build, manage and grow their legal practice and also automate all their manual processes to be more efficient and updated. Once it catches up, it could end up bringing a paradigm shift in the legal domain by leveraging cloud computing technology. The app would help lawyers manage a client and the documents required before filing and then follow up every process till the case ends. In terms of documentation and follow ups, it will therefore help both the lawyer and the complainant. Jaipur based lawyer Prameshwar Pilania said: “What is good about the app is that I get automatic updates everyday on the cases that I am handling which makes my working easier and more efficient. One thing that the app should now include is to send us all the FIRs filed in the location that a lawyer lives in as then I could refer to it if a related case comes up.”
Presently, nearly 95% of legal professionals in India manage their practice manually. An app like this would be an innovative and helpful technological intervention to revolutionise their day to day work as far as handling clients go. The app would also advise them on some legal interventions they could use in case they need some direction on a case. LegalKart is the country’s first practice management mobile app for legal professionals.
Dr. Arvind Singhatiya, Founder and CEO, LegalKart, told Outlook: “We used artificial intelligence to create LegalKart with an inclusive technology platform to empower its users and stakeholders. The larger idea is to create convenient access to reliable legal support and services for billions of individuals and businesses across the globe.”
LegalKart has also developed another counterpart app that common people can freely access that has a legal management system to identify legal professionals in family courts, labour courts or district courts. It will be enabled with artificial intelligence that will work to offer advice and curate the legal journey for the client. It will suggest the likely time period and procedure involved in the case. It will be functional by the end of this year.
If you are in Canada and have a piece of land in Punjab that you want to sell or buy, you can use the app, connect to a local lawyer in the state and carry out the process without any confusion. As the app is globally enabled, NRIs and PIOs can use it without travelling to India.
Lawyers will be rated by the clients on different parameters so that it can help clients choose the best advocate to present their case. The parameters will rate them on knowledge, experience, performance, experience, cost effectiveness, promptness, and so on. Bengaluru based advocate Ayantika Mondol told Outlook: “The app helps in expeditious legal service at a reasonable price. It helps lawyers cater to our clients in an organised manner and the app clearly reflects the number of closures we have on various issues.”
Some of the key features of the app are:
A lawyer can put all his cases at one place and can access documents anytime and anywhere. All their legal business can be automated.
There will be automatic updates on the cases.
It will work as a synchronised calendar helping the lawyer plan day to day activities, events and meetings.
All details of clients and invoices can be easily accessible in one place.
Dr. Singhatiya is an alumni of the National Law University, Jodhpur. He created the app with the help of technologists and executives. It can be easily used by startups, corporates and medium and small enterprises to considerably cut their legal costs. More than anything else, it will help lawyers transition from a traditional file system to a contemporary digital world.
In the last four months of its operation, LegalKart has been used by over 3000 lawyers in 240 Indian cities. It has also integrated the Supreme Court, the High Courts, 624 district courts, Debt Recovery Tribunals, National Company Law Tribunal and all the e-courts in the country. It has also connected more than 1000 legal forums and more are in the pipeline to be added.
The app is presently available in English. By 2020, LegalKart hopes to make it available in eight regional languages so that those who are not comfortable in English could use it too. Many litigants are not comfortable with either English or Hindi. The language app will ask them to record their issue in a time span of 30 seconds. This voice file would then be sent to a group of eligible lawyers in their geographical location. After listening to it, these lawyers can decide whether they want to take up the case. If they are interested, they can get in touch with the complainant to logically carry it forward.
Use of technological innovations like this might just help reduce the vexed issue of pendency to some extent. According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, there are 3.53 crore cases pending in Indian courts of law.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine