The Legal Access Challenge is a legal technology fund. We want to see a legal services market which uses technology to make legal services more affordable and accessible, helping more people and SMEs get the legal help they need.

Delivered by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Challenge has three aims:

  • accelerating the development of products, services and platforms that will help individuals and SMEs understand and resolve their legal problems with greater ease;
  • developing a community of people and organisations with a shared interest in implementing the use of technology to improve access to legal support who will share knowledge and ideas to improve customer outcomes in the legal services market; and
  • learning whether there are regulatory barriers to the development and adoption of mass market legal technology solutions and, if so, what adaptations to the SRA’s approach might reduce these barriers.

The application window is now open. Visit the Apply page for everything you need to know about applying to the Challenge. Get in touch, and sign up for updates, via the Contact page.

The Challenge has been made possible by a grant from the £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK. The fund enables UK regulators to develop innovation-enabling approaches to emerging technologies and unlock the long-term economic opportunities identified in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.


Nesta Challenges

Nesta is a global innovation foundation with a mission to spark and shape new ideas to improve how the world works for everyone.

Within Nesta, Nesta Challenges uses challenge prizes to stimulate innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face. Challenge prizes are a simple but powerful idea. A problem or opportunity is identified, the challenge is publicized and rewards are offered to those who can deliver the best solutions.

Nesta Challenges’ Better Markets team works with regulators, policymakers and innovative enterprises to make markets more competitive and open. We advise regulators and policymakers how regulatory reforms and targeted public investment programmes can work together to achieve greater impact.

Solicitors Regulation Authority

The SRA is the regulator of more than 190,000 solicitors and 10,400 law firms in England and Wales. We are here to make sure the public can trust solicitors and law firms meet high professional standards, while creating a competitive market that helps people to access affordable legal services.
We want to encourage businesses who have ideas to deliver legal services in new, smart ways that could benefit the public. Our SRA Innovate programme is our commitment to supporting those – whether a law firm or other business – who want to innovate.

BEIS & Innovate UK

The Challenge has been made possible by a grant from the £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK. The fund enables UK regulators to develop innovation-enabling approaches to emerging technologies and unlock the long-term economic opportunities identified in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.


Chris Gorst

Chris is the head of the Better Markets team at Nesta Challenges. He was a Senior Economist at HM Treasury and the Prime Minister’s Energy Review, worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and as a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. He designed and delivered a groundbreaking accelerator programme for 10,000 UK small business leaders at Goldman Sachs.

Nicola Tulk

Nicola heads up the Legal Access Challenge. She is a fellow of the On Purpose leadership programme. During the On Purpose programme Nicola worked with community interest company Mental Health First Aid England, developing strategy and focusing on organisational development for the Commercial team. She then managed the research and design phase of the Legal Access Challenge at Nesta, which she continues to lead. Prior to On Purpose and Nesta, Nicola was a Director at global advisory company Willis Towers Watson. As a qualified actuary, Nicola specialised in personal lines general insurance consulting encompassing both technical and strategic consulting projects.

Harry Atkinson

Harry designs and manages innovator recruitment campaigns for the Better Markets team at Nesta Challenges. He previously worked on the Open Up Challenge and is currently supporting innovator recruitment to the Legal Access Challenge.

Chris Handford

As Director of Regulatory Policy and Legal Access Challenge project sponsor, Chris is responsible for leading the SRA’s current programme of reforms which are designed to remove unnecessary regulation, improve public access to legal services and allow flexibility for legal services in how they structure and deliver their services. With more than 15 years’ experience in the legal service sector, Chris was previously Head of Research and Development at the Legal Services Board.

Emma Tunley

Emma is a Policy Manager at the SRA. She is responsible for coordinating the SRA’s input into the Legal Access Challenge and making sure it is managed in a way that meets the terms and condition of the grant from Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. She is a regulatory specialist and prior to joining the SRA has held varied roles with regulators across different markets, including Ofqual and Ofwat. She led a project at Ofwat responsible for initial design of the legal and financing arrangements for the Thames Tideway super sewer, the UK’s largest ever water infrastructure project.


Anna Bradley

Anna is an experienced Chair and independent board member. She has worked in a wide variety of sectors, including as Chair of the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, the General Optical Council and Healthwatch England. Anna is a former Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council and her executive career included roles at Which? and the Financial Services Authority. She is currently an Independent Board Member of pay.uk and chairs the Board’s End User Advisory Council, as well as chairing a Customer Challenge Group at Southern Water and an Independent Governance Committee at Zurich. Anna is a Trustee at Age Uk.

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop is Director of the UK Law Centres Network (LCN), a post that she has held for 11 years. Prior to LCN, Julie was Director of the National Association of Community Legal Centres in Australia for over 5 years and worked in the legal aid sector in Australia at community level for almost 20 years. Julie’s professional training is in Information Technology. It was as a Systems Analyst / Designer that Julie first worked in legal aid. Before IT, she studied and taught Philosophy at the University of Sydney.

Matthew Briggs

Matthew Briggs holds Non Executive Director and Chair positions at various private equity backed businesses across the insurtech, SaaS, digital media, creative/branding, high street retail, mental health and Wifi/IOT/Smart City sectors. Matthew was formerly CEO of Minster Law Solicitors, MD of Aviva, CEO of Capita Insurance, Founder and CEO of Brilliant Law Solicitors, NED and CEO of The Law Superstore, and Advisor at KPMG Legal.

Karl Chapman

Karl has a long pedigree in starting, growing and managing successful companies across a number of sectors including legal, HR, recruitment and technology. Following the acquisition of Riverview Law by EY, Karl is now a Strategic Advisor to EY Riverview Law. Karl is also a Non-Executive Director of Kim Technologies who apply artificial intelligence capabilities to case management and document and knowledge automation.

Sidonie Kingsmill

Sidonie Kingsmill joined HM Courts & Tribunals Service as Customer Director in September 2015. She has spent 20 years working in some of the most competitive industries in the world – including grocery retail (Tesco Stores Ltd) and consumer packaged goods (Procter & Gamble, Nestle). Her role at HMCTS is to use customer insight, data & evidence, innovation and experience design to improve the court user experience and increase access to justice.

Juliet Oliver

Juliet Oliver joined the SRA as General Counsel in January 2015. She provides advice on the development of legislation and regulatory policy, as well as governance and compliance issues. Juliet is a solicitor with a wealth of experience and expertise advising on high profile regulatory reform programmes and best practice in regulatory decision-making. Previously she was a partner at Field Fisher, acting for a range of regulatory bodies, building on her experience in house at the General Medical Council, where her responsibilities included advising on high profile disciplinary cases and matters, including the Shipman and Mid Staffordshire public inquiries. She is Chair of the Investigation Committee of the General Optical Council, sits on the Professional Standards Committee of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee.

Roger Smith

Roger Smith is funded by the Legal Education Foundation to analyse and write on matters relating to technology and access to justice. He is responsible for a blog covering global developments in the field and has written various reports on this topic. He is a solicitor with a long record in the not for profit sector, including periods as director of the Legal Action Group and JUSTICE. He was awarded an OBE in 2008 and is a visiting professor at London South Bank University and an honorary one at the University of Kent.