Legal Service by Automated Legal Software and Its Legal Impacts, in Particular under the German Act On Out-of-Court Legal Services

49 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

Date Written: August 20, 2018

Abstract

Within the context of “legal service” or “legal advice”, many people typically associate it with the legal profession. Lawyers perform several legal activities, but their principal legal work is the performance of legal services for their clients.

In many states lawyers have been the only professionals with the permission to supply legal services. Therefore, they had a kind of “monopoly” on the legal market. Nonetheless, this beneficial position for lawyers has negatively changed in the course of time for the following reason:

Nowadays there are many legal software systems capable of performing legal services.
But why have legal software programs been implemented?

A weak spot of lawyers’ legal work is that their legal services is quite expensive and not affordable for many people. For example, Charles Dickens said that legal documents are “mountains of costly nonsense” . He might slightly exaggerate because mostly the legal quality in legal documents created by lawyers is very high. However, in terms of the costs, he may be right. Legal documents are expensive, and this leads to expensive legal service. Consequently, many people and companies have kept an eye out for an alternative to legal services by lawyers. After the demand for an alternative legal service performer had increased, many states liberalised their respective labour markets, with the result that lawyers were not the only persons anymore who have been performing legal services. A new player entered the labour markets: Automated legal software.

The reasons for the deployment of legal software were to decrease costs for legal services and to improve the productivity of the performance. Since then the deployment of legal software has been an increasing process. Legal services by legal software are offered both online, i.e. on the internet, and offline.

But most types of legal software are deployed on the internet because they need contact to the users or clients to work properly. However, since the internet has emerged as a new medium to offer any performances online, there has been a problem with the applicable law and the jurisdiction. A major legal issue of the internet is that it has no national boundaries. As a result, it is difficult to determine the applicable law and the jurisdiction. However, since the examination of the applicable law and jurisdiction is very complex and demand a meticulous legal analysis, it would overload this dissertation. Some readers might already be informed about the legal issues on the applicable law and jurisdiction. Everybody else is referred to take a closer look at this selected reading .

In the next chapter the types of legal software and of legal activities are presented. At the end of the first chapter, automated legal services are interpreted under the EU anti-discrimination legislation.

In the second chapter legal services by legal software are examined under the German Act on Out-of-court Legal Services (“RDG” ) and compared to legal services by lawyers on the basis of advantages and disadvantages.

At the end of each chapter the respective key points are briefly summarised.

Finally, this dissertation ends with a conclusion which contains the question whether or not the legal profession of lawyers will be replaced by legal software in the future.

The result is that legal software must be considered as legal service provider besides lawyers and as support for lawyers, rather than as a replacement.

Keywords: legal service; legal advice; legal tech; lawyers; RDG; legal software; technology; impacts; automation; access to justice

Suggested Citation

Remmers, Julius, Legal Service by Automated Legal Software and Its Legal Impacts, in Particular under the German Act On Out-of-Court Legal Services (August 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3491347 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3491347

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