On April 22, 2021, the Convocation of the Law Society of Ontario approved the Technology Task Force’s “Regulatory Sandbox for Innovative Technological Legal Services” Report. As a result, a five-year pilot project will be launched in Q4 of 2021. In the pilot approved participants will be granted express permission by the Law Society to serve consumers using innovative technological legal services (ITLS). The participants will be required to comply with specialised requirements for risk-based monitoring and reporting.
The Technology Task Force is composed of lawyer, paralegal and publicly-appointed lay benchers, and has the mandate to consider the role of technology in the delivery of legal services, as well as to examine the role of the Law Society as a regulator in a changing, tech-enabled environment, and explore how the Law Society can encourage innovation.
The sandbox project has been designed to help fulfil these responsibilities by:
- Facilitating access to justice: eliminating regulatory uncertainty around ITLS, and removing barriers to the development of ITLS, allowing products to be developed that can address unmet legal need.
- Protecting the public: The pilot project provides a mechanism to ensure ITLS consumers receive competent and ethical services and have access to recourse, as well as the information to make informed choices about the providers of the services.
- Informing future regulatory development: The pilot project will provide evidence to inform longer-term decision-making about ITLS regulation.