Open Source Is The Foundation For Global LegalTech And EduTech Projects

Open Source II

The year was 2004 when we at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) were doing techno legal research in fields like cyber law and cyber forensics. While looking for software for our techno legal projects like online dispute resolution (ODR), e-courts, online skills development, cyber crimes investigation, cyber security, etc we faced a major limitation that all similarly situated individuals would face. The limitation was the limited nature of user capability of paid or closed source software that too with high costs. After testing some paid software we immediately realised that neither the trial versions nor the limited editions of such paid software would serve the purpose. We started exploring alternatives and as expected open source came to our rescue. We tested few open source software in fields like ODR, e-courts, online skills development, etc and were so impressed with their functionality and utility that we immediately decided to use open source for all our projects. And today all our techno legal LegalTech, EduTech and TechLaw projects are functioning on free and open source software.

This year in 2019 we decided to take our techno legal projects to next level. we decided to launch legal entities on the one hand and improve our partnerships and collaborations on the other hand. We enacted EduTech entitiy named PTLB Projects LLP and LegalTech entitiy named TeleLaw Private Limited. Both these entities have been recognised by Indian Government as LegalTech, EduTech and TechLaw startups. So ready with everything at place, we started exploring more about LegalTech and EduTech projects and software.

This is the time when John Tredennick and me were connected on LinkedIn and I came to know about Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation. Being an open source enthusiastic and user, I immediately realised the significance of this initiative. Since 2004 we have been building a repository of open source software in fields like cyber security, cyber forensic, cyber crimes investigation, privacy and data protection, online skills development and e-learning, etc. That is currently an offline repository that we would upload on a dedicated portal soon. We have already tested a majority of these software and they are very powerful, easy to use and are of tremendous utility.

As we have projects in fields like ODR, e-courts, skills development, etc we also obtained open source and free software in these fields. Our sole aim was to show the world how open source and free software can be used for multiple purposes, including LegalTech and EduTech. So we already have a software repository for these fields. But after seeing the portal of Merlin Foundation, our efforts have been rejuvenated. The portal is currently hosting projects like document assembly systememail management system, etc. We intend to test and explore these tool too for our techno legal projects and we may suggest our own or third party open source software for this repository.

Our projects are leaning heavily towards social causes like global access to justice and justice for all, legal aid, strengthening of rule of law and civil liberties, etc and we believe that a collaboration between Merlin Foundation and Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) can be beneficial for global stakeholders.

Let us briefly discuss about few of our techno legal projects. The first one in line is online dispute resolution (ODR). We have few projects in the field of ODR and the oldest one is known as ODR India. It hosts a pro bono and demo platform, a training blog, a professional ODR portal for global stakeholders, a discussion forum, etc. We have also launched Centre of Excellence for promoting ODR in  India and other jurisdictions. It takes just 2 minutes to use our pro bono or professional portals and we have provided step by step directions as well for the convenience of various stakeholders. We are in talk with individuals and companies so that they start using ODR in India and other jurisdictions. We are also in talk with Indian Government for use of ODR in various Government offices and departments. Our aim is to ensure that disputes can be resolved from any part of the world by using our ODR portals. Our por bono portal has already helped many individuals in India in getting back their money lost due to phishing, unauthorised banking transactions, non reimbursement of money by e-commerce portals, etc. It has become a regular phenomenon for us to be marked as a party by e-mails from aggrieved people and once our process is started, the matter is resolved within weeks.

The second project upon which we have been working for long is e-courts. This is a project upon which Indian Government has also worked extensively. It is in the final stage of being implementation and Indian Government may be testing it before its final implementation. The aim of this project is to help Indian Government in successful and holistic implementation of e-courts project in India. It is also acting as an e-courts consultancy and training portal in India. We are also interlinking our techno legal projects so both ODR and e-courts could work together in later stage of the project implementation. We are using open source and free software for e-courts project too and this include case management system, wordpress, etc.

Another project that is running on open source software is our online skills development project. There are many open source content management and course management software and Moodle is one of them. We have installed Moodle on our own so it is not a complicated process to install your e-learning system based on open source. Moodle has all the rich features that makes learning easier and with fun. It is easy to use for the students, professionals, teachers, administrator, etc.

We have many more open source software and features that we would disclose soon once our funding and collaborations are over. The main focus of our projects is upon user friendly nature and customer oriented goal. At the same time we are also taking care of our fellow companions and partners. We are trying to involve Indian Government too so that we can provide a comprehensive and holistic services to maximum number of stakeholders. So those looking in terms of intended user and beneficiaries, our projects are covering Business to Consumer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B), Business to Government (B2G) and other end users and stakeholders.

If you find synergy between your projects and objectives and our own, we invite you to invest in our projects in terms of funding, suggestions, technology use and joint projects implementation. We look forward to have maximum stakeholders on the board so that together we can create a better LegalTech, EduTech and TechLaw world using open source software.

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