Gilbert + Tobin has taken out the Innovation in Rule of Law and Access to Justice Award at the annual FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific Awards held in Hong Kong last night.

The award recognizes initiatives that seek to uphold the rule of law and improve avenues of access to justice. Gilbert + Tobin’s automation project with Australia’s leading refugee NGO, Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), was recognised as the most innovative solution in a field that included a number of strong entries from around Asia-Pacific.

G+T’s legal technology experts developed a document automation and workflow technology platform to support asylum seeker applications, and enable RACS to help people more in need as well as improving the organisation’s capacity to manage a high volume of applications quickly and efficiently.

The firm has a long and proud history as a pro-bono pioneer and using its legal skills to improve access to justice. This pioneering innovation originated as an idea from a social-justice hackathon collaboration between G+T, the University of New South Wales and RACS.

Peter Dombkins, G+T’s Head of Legal Project Management, who led the team that brought the students winning idea to life, said the team was delighted to be recognised among the very best innovations in the Asia-Pacific region and assist people who most need access to legal protections.

“G+T is a proud long-term supporter of RACS and we are absolutely thrilled this automation project has created a critical piece of technology infrastructure for RACS that means they can continue to deliver on their mission. This is particularly game-changing at a time when all NGO’s face intense resource and funding restraints that make it difficult for them to invest in commercial technology solutions.”

“This award is also a great reflection of the impact that technology can have on the delivery of legal services, and what can be achieved through collaboration between law firms and their technology vendors," added Peter. Thomson Reuters has provided RACS with free licenses to use the Contract Express platform upon which the solution was based.

The firm also received a “highly commended” for several other awards including:

  • Most Innovative Law Firm (Headquartered in Asia Pacific)
  • Innovation in Legal Expertise (Managing Complexity and Scale) for its work with BPAY Group to revolutionise the payments landscape in Australia
  • Innovation in Business of Law: Talent, Strategy and Changing Behaviours – for becoming the first law firm to integrate Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) certification into the development framework of senior lawyers and deliver accredited legal project management training for its clients, as well as the wider legal profession through the Law Society of NSW.
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