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November 2016

Students from the School of Law help deaf people to be heard

(3 November 2016)

Students from the School of Law joined with others from School of Computer Science to work together to find a digital solution to making access to justice more readily available for deaf people. 

The Business Engagement team, in collaboration with the Legal Advice Centre and Manchester Deaf Centre, created a unique hackathon challenge, a 24-hour event designed to build, from scratch, a piece of software to enable members of the deaf community to access legal services and pre-existing legal resources more easily. The Hackathon focused on producing working apps or programmes that help reduce the challenges the deaf community currently faces when seeking to engage the legal system. 

In total, seven teams competed, each with a mix of Law and Computer Science students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. The winning team was awarded £600, with students guaranteed a prestigious work placement in Freshfields’ new Manchester-based Legal Services Centre in summer 2017. The second place runners up were awarded £300 and, due to the exceptionally high quality of outputs, the judges agreed a third place prize on the night of £150. 

Milos Kresojevic, Innovation Architect at Freshfields, attended the opening ceremony, where he spent time with the teams during competition and acted as a judge. He said of the event: “It was a fascinating event and touching to see how little of common effort can potentially make a difference. For us at Freshfields this is part of our Responsible Business strategy introduced recently by our Senior Partner, Edward Braham, to make lasting difference to the communities in which we work. We look forward to taking it forward and future partnerships”. 

This was the first time that students from the University’s Schools of Law and Computer Science had worked together in this way and we are exploring the potential for introducing ‘cross-over teaching modules’ to allow students from both Law and Computer Science disciplines to specialise in Legal Technologies.