NSW issues $250K AI grant to improve access to justice

Tuesday, 20 July, 2021

NSW issues $250K AI grant to improve access to justice

Two AI projects will share $250,000 in funding under the NSW Government’s Access to Justice Innovation Fund (AJIF).

Attorney General Mark Speakman said, “These cutting-edge projects will help people with a disability, seniors, Aboriginal people, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds understand and exercise their legal rights.”

As a part of the program, not-for-profit organisation Justice Connect will receive $174,000 to build a language processing model to help an estimated 50,000 people across NSW who lack the legal literacy they may need when searching for legal resources and services online.

Separately, the University of Sydney has been awarded $76,000 to develop a fairer assessment model for parents with a cognitive disability involved in care proceedings before the Children’s Court.

Justice Connect’s AI model will be free to other not-for-profit organisations in NSW and the University of Sydney’s resources will be available to parents, Children’s Court clinicians, the court and statutory caseworkers across the state at no cost.

Chris Povey, Justice Connect CEO, said his team will collect thousands of language samples from diverse groups in NSW to incorporate into the AI model’s training, with the help of hundreds of pro bono lawyers.

“We hope our project can serve as an example of AI for good and can ultimately be used by legal organisations across the justice sector,” Povey said.

Dr Susan Collings from the University of Sydney’s Research Centre for Children and Families said parents with an intellectual disability are much more likely to lose their child to statutory care.

The government has pledged $1 million over four years to the AJIF, with applications for the next round of funding to open in the second half of 2021.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Olivier Le Moal

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