Legal apps to guide litigants through court and help landlords end tenancies have been developed by Teesside University’s Law Clinic.
The law clinic has designed a free app to help litigants negotiate the legal procedures behind bringing a claim to the Small Claims Court. It has also developed an app for landlords, costing £2.99, which provides guidance on how to end a tenancy.
The apps walk users through a process by asking questions and providing explanations or sources of information tailored to their replies. The small claims app tells users how to complete documentation, compile bundles and explains hearings while the app for landlords details users to evict tenants using Section 8 or Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
The clinic aims to develop more apps to provide guidance on a wider range of legal issues.
Senior lecturer in law Andrew Perriman, who runs Teesside Law Clinic, said: “For people who are unfamiliar with the legal system, even something relatively straightforward like a small claim can be extremely complex. However, hiring a lawyer can be difficult and counter-productive depending upon the value of the claim.
“Evicting a tenant can be a very lengthy process and if a landlord goes wrong it could add months to the proceedings. Hopefully these apps should make the process a little more understandable.”
The clinic allows law firms to advertise their services to users, as long as the user’s claim totals more than £10,000, in order to generate funds for its legal aid clinic.
Perriman added: “A lot of pro bono funding has been slashed and, coupled with the cuts to legal aid, there is even less money out there for us to do our work and for people to bring claims… the income that we generate through advertising can be ploughed back into the pro bono work that we do.”
The apps have been designed with the help of software development company Pixelbrawl, established by Teesside University graduates Simon Launder, James Whitemore and Matthew Daroczy and supported by the university’s DigitalCity Innovation project.