Mystery remains over new home of LawtechUK

As Toyah once sang..

The UK Law Gazette reports

Akey question about the future of the government-backed initiative to nurture legal technology remains unanswered following the announcement that its current host, the non-profit company Tech Nation, will close at the end of next month.

LawtechUK, which has government funding for just over £3m for two years from April, advertised for a new ‘delivery partner’ last October. The Gazette understands that a contractor has been selected, but no announcement will be made until the middle of this month. The Gazette also understands that Barclays Eagle Labs, which is taking over the bulk of Tech Nation’s government-sponsored work, will not take on the role.

Tech Nation, set up by the coalition government as a ‘growth platform’ for technology-based businesses, has run the LawtechUK initiative since 2019. The company  announced yesterday that, following the withdrawal of funding from the Department for Digital, Communications and Sport, it would close its doors on 31 March. ‘We are regretfully commencing a redundancy consultation process as of today for all of our permanent employees,’ the announcement stated. ‘For those whose primary role is DCMS delivery work, we initiated TUPE discussions with Barclays Bank and have informed DCMS.’

Tech Nation says its alumni include companies such as Monzo, Revolut, Darktrace and Deliveroo. Its also runs an ‘exceptional talent’ visa scheme on behalf of the Home Office, the future of which is unclear.  Work carried out under LawtechUK banner includes the creation of a ‘sandbox’ for legal services innovations and studies on smart legal contracts and online dispute resolution.

Alex Lennox, director of LawtechUK, said: ‘The LawtechUK team and I are immensely proud of all that we have achieved as LawtechUK, which was started in and incubated by Tech Nation. LawtechUK will continue and has an exciting future ahead with a further £3 million in government funding secured by the LawtechUK team and much more work to be done to continue to support the digital transformation of the UK legal sector.’