About


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.

Partners

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.

Team

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.

Judges

We’ll publish the list of Judges, and their profiles, before the application window closes.