The Lawtech Sandbox has a unique focus – to support lawtech companies by providing them with tools, data and connections to overcome critical hurdles, and do so in a way that drives the advancement of the legal sector.
Hunit participated in the Lawtech Sandbox as a platform to bring forward a new way of approaching contracts, focusing on the investment sector.
Hunit is a distributed ledger technology (DLT or blockchain) based smart legal contracting platform that enables natively digital, self-executing contracts to be authored using natural language directly in Microsoft Word. Hunit aims to bring analogue contracts into the digital world, making it easy for lawyers to step into the future that their clients are already living.
During Hunit’s time in the Lawtech Sandbox, Hunit accessed a range of support to develop its offering and has published a detailed paper exploring the practicalities of applying smart legal contracts in today’s legal sector.
The Functional Application of Smart Legal Contract Technology
Two work-streams contributed to the production of Hunit’s paper:
1. Regulatory guidance and clarification
Smart legal contracts are still seen by many people as a nascent technology and the application of smart legal contracts still requires clarity from a regulatory perspective. Through the Sandbox, Hunit was able to gain direct access to regulators like the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), who were keen to evaluate, contribute and collaborate on legal and regulatory issues relating to the application of smart legal contracts.
2. Thought leadership
Emerging technology brings a range of questions and opportunities that are best addressed with diverse input. In the Sandbox, Hunit assembled an advisory panel of senior lawyers and industry experts to test a range of questions and opportunities relating to smart legal contracts.
The paper is the culmination of the research, investigation and guidance from regulators and the advisory panel, and seeks to clarify some key regulatory questions about the functional application of smart legal contracts in the legal sector. It builds on the Law Commission’s advice to the Government that the current legal framework is able to facilitate and support the use of smart legal contracts.
As smart legal contracts are novel, the next step in their development is to translate their theoretical compatibility into a practical, real-world approach. Regulatory edge cases must be identified and solved while best practices need to be developed that will help the legal services sector extract maximum value and security from this new technology class.
An important takeaway from the paper is that smart legal contracts are not about removing human involvement from the practice of law but rather enhancing the capabilities of contracting in today’s digital world.
Aaron Powers, CEO of Hunit, comments:
“This paper showcases the power smart legal contracts have to lead the evolution of our legal system. Hunit is pleased to have the opportunity to join forces with LawtechUK and our panel of advisors to bring forward a nuts-and-bolts analysis of how smart legal contracts fit into today’s legal services sector. Our publication has shown that smart legal contracts can be used compatibly with our current legal and regulatory framework and that they’re ready to deliver transformative benefits today. We hope this report highlights to solicitors, judges, policymakers, and enterprises that we are at the dawn of the era in which contracts no longer serve as static records of legal agreements but are active participants in the fulfilment of them.“