In an article for Lawyer Monthly, legal technology expert Paul Sachs advocated for the use of blockchain in the legal system and court proceedings, focusing on the UK in his discussion.
Sachs preceded his in-depth analysis of how blockchain could be utilized by stating a necessity for substance to be included in the growing discussion around the technology’s potential use cases; his analysis does just this.
The most significant contribution of blockchain in law, as Sachs sees, it is the potential it has in transforming security and protecting evidence during a trial. He notes that the UK courts are currently going through a GBP 1 billion modernization effort partially focused on digitizing processes to increase work efficiency.
For courts to move away from paper, instituting new technology poses a risk, especially in that digital evidence can be altered. Sachs writes that particularly when there is a long time between the original submission and the court date, data must be provably fully compliant with security and business processes.
The solution: an immutable network of evidence that can be presented in a courtroom with no questions as to the authenticity of the data. These are the strongest features of blockchain by design.
Blockchain may be a public artifact, Sachs discusses, but legal evidence would not be revealed to the public, merely IDs and hash codes. He writes: ”In this way, it becomes an incorruptible digital ledger.” Each transaction of the evidence would be recorded on the blockchain, while the evidence itself would remain completely private.
This removes the opportunity for any wrongdoers to forge documents or edit photographs once the evidence has been uploaded to the blockchain. It also could be just the beginning of further innovation in the legal sector with security now guaranteed, as Sachs outlines.
Blockchain in the UK
Sachs’ vision for blockchain in the legal system may well be established given the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) blockchain bullishness. It recently announced the establishment of a collaborative entity, the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), to pursue innovations.
The network’s purpose is founded on the concept of establishing a global blockchain knowledge-sharing “sandbox”.
The Bank of England has also nearly finalized its Proof of Concept (PoC) project that is looking to establish a Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service to meet new financial challenges emerging from the changing landscape.
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