Startups

The Mauritian legal sector is going digital!

Mauritius is undoubtedly a country that loves innovations and welcomes them with open arms. Among the notable examples of the moment, let’s mention Manin Utchanah, founder of LexTech.mu, the result of a beautiful collision between the judicial world and the new technologies. He tells us about this digital law firm, developed through LegalTech.mu, a research and development laboratory for innovation in the legal sector.

Hello Manindra, how did your project come about?

It all started during the first lockdown (Editor’s note: March 18, 2020 to June1, 2020), during which the lawyers were unable to assist their clients in person. The judicial system in Mauritius was almost completely paralysed, with limited possibilities, applicable only in emergencies through video-conferencing.

The consequences have been severe, especially for the most vulnerable litigants, who have had to deal with particularly complex legal situations on top of everything else. If the scale of the events was impressive, there was no question of standing idly by. This gave rise to the idea of creating an internet platform focused solely on the legal sector with the aim of using technology to make justice accessible to the country’s inhabitants, without exception.

Several applications were thus born during the first containment of Mauritius:

  • An application designed to detect procedural flaws in the dismissal process;
  • An application capable of automating moratorium requests for unpaid rent;
  • A severance calculator;
  • An application to direct SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to the right contacts in order to obtain financial assistance under government aid schemes.

The legal world is already solidly codified. What does technology add to this sector?

Technology is a tool that must be used, and in the case of justice, it makes it possible to democratize and facilitate access to legal services for all, both for those subject to trial and for lawyers. They can, for example, count on the automation of certain simple, but usually “time-consuming” processes.

New legal technologies allow professionals to significantly reduce their operating costs, and therefore, by cascade effect, to reduce the cost of their services to individuals and companies.

How does your digital law firm work?

Using technology, the digital law firm allows its users to directly access legal documents, court dates, invoices and payments online through a client portal. It also contains an online booking module, which can be used for virtual or in-person appointments in our branches across the country. Moreover, this module synchronizes with the calendar of the lawyer who uses it.

How do you marry technology and ethics when it comes to the legal sector?

Digitalisation is inevitable and the legal sector cannot close its eyes to its existence. With regard to ethical issues related to digitalization, it is essential that the Bar Association address the subject by setting up a tangible framework that encourages and guides innovation.

What about the “Domestic Violence” application on the online cabinet?

The COVID-19 pandemic in Mauritius has seen a worrying increase in domestic violence. Confined to their abusers, the victims had no way to seek help. So we’ve launched a basic web application that automates protection order requests.

This application consists of a series of questions that the user answers, which generates an affidavit, fully ready to be filed in court. The new version of the application will contain a real-time translation API for forms written in English, for French-speaking users.

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