Startups named winners of SA leg of Global Legal Hackathon

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The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) and leading global law firm Baker McKenzie have announced the winners of the South African leg of Global Legal Hackathon 2019, with one solution proceeding to the next round of the contest.

Last weekend, teams in 46 cities in 24 countries around the world took part in the world’s largest legal hackathon, with participants coming together to address issues relating to access to justice and the business of law.

Eight teams took part in the South African event, which took place at Baker McKenzie’s Johannesburg office. The winning team, Kagiso, will progress to the second round of the contest, in which a panel of international judges will decide who attends a grand final in New York.

Kagiso is an online mediation platform that provides a cost-effective and fast alternative to lengthy court processes for civil disputes. It uses machine learning to match cases with professional mediators who have the most relevant skillsets to be effective – such as subject matter experience or knowledge of local languages – and stores records using blockchain technology.

In second place was Bua, a voice recognition system that allows victims of crime to record their own statements in their own language in a private “safe space” such as a kiosk or on their own phone, while O Kae Molao, a local language TV show which speaks directly to poor communities around South Africa and offers legal advice and help with issues, was third.

“The work that the teams showed us on Sunday evening was by far the most consistently impressive that I’ve ever seen at an event of this kind,” said HiiL’s Adam Oxford.

“It’s exciting to see so many well developed ideas emerging so fast. We were extremely impressed with the variety of innovative ideas presented at the Hackathon and we are sure Kagiso’s ideas will impress the judges in the next round.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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