An app that can quickly and easily provide those working in a community legal centre with legal information about the payment of parking and other fines was on Tuesday named best app at a student showcase held by UNSW Law.

The students were among the first cohort in the Faculty’s “Designing Technology Solutions for Access to Justice” course.

The winning team of Jelena Ardalic, Clare Cullen, Jessica Liang and Leon Louie created an app to help the University’s Kingsford Legal Centre support its clients.

Thanks to sponsorship from law firm Gilbert + Tobin and using software created by Neota Logic Inc., UNSW Law designed the new course to provide its students with practical experience in using state-of-the-art legal technology.  The course is modelled on a program developed in the US by Georgetown University Law School and Neota Logic involves students working with a variety of not-for-profit centres to build apps that deliver access to justice.

Participating not-for-profits include the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, Australian Pro Bono Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and the Diplomacy Training Program.

The winning team had been tasked with designing an interactive application to help volunteer solicitors at Kingsford Legal Centre navigate fines, team member Clare Cullen said.

"We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of fines a person could possibly receive and decided to build an application that dealt with two aspects common to all fines: payment options and expiry dates," Cullen said.

"We ended up building 'Fined Out: How to Deal with a Fine', which advises the user on their payment options, a fine's urgency, demerit point status and options for expired fines."

Also in Tuesday’s showcase was an app that helps people who work with migrant workers identify relevant treaty provisions applicable to their circumstances, and another that helps guide people to legal services that may be available to them.

Course convenor Associate Professor Lyria Bennett Moses said the apps could be used by young people and law students to answer common legal questions, and by anyone wanting to know where to find free legal services. 

"The students in the course have learnt how to manage a small project, have practised engaging with clients, have thought creatively about how technology can enhance access to justice and have gained valuable experience building an expert system," Bennett Moses said.

UNSW Law Dean Professor George Williams congratulated the students on their achievements and confirmed that UNSW Law had introduced the course "as one of a number of courses and initiatives that help to equip students with the skills needed for a broad range of future techno-legal roles".

Watch a video of the presentations here.

UNSW Media