Law Apps leading the way
Every semester, Melbourne Law School’s JD students are conceiving and designing apps that tackle a range of legal issues – from media law and risk assessment to creating advance care directives for the community.
‘Legal expert systems’ (law apps) are domain-specific systems that use artificial intelligence and digital automation to emulate the decision-making abilities of lawyers and legal experts. Through the Law Apps class, MLS students are learning about this rapidly growing part of the current legal landscape by designing and building apps to assist not-for-profit organisations and University of Melbourne research.
The classes have been running since 2015, allowing students to engage with new technology, learn about human-centred design and gain experience addressing real-world problems.
This semester’s cohort of students will unveil their work at the Law Apps Awards night on 23 October, at which the apps will be assessed by a judging panel. You can tune into the event live stream via MLS Facebook.
See below for more information on each app, and judge for yourself which one is your favourite!
L-R: Jean Jacob, Nico Kunz, Lucinda Sheedy-Reinhard, Emma Costa, Kesu Tu. Absent: Hsien-Li (Dave) Hu.
The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 enshrines advance care directives (ACD) in Victorian law, helping health practitioners to care for those who do not have decision-making capacity. However, due in part to language and literacy barriers, the uptake of ACDs has been limited among the elderly Chinese community. Developed for MLS academic Dr Carolyn Johnston and the Chinese Cancer and Chronic Illness Society of Victoria as a research tool, the My Choices app enables users to make a video of their medical preferences, bypassing the need to fill out paperwork. The app has English, traditional Chinese and Cantonese language options. Once completed, the videos are saved on a secure database, where they can be uploaded to the user’s MyHealth record or emailed to their doctor.
Media Law Companion
L-R: Jasmine Mesourouni, Grace Borg, Amiinah Dulull, Alice Sawers, Eva Carroll, Isabel Trinca, Ishan Lall.
Developed for 3CR Community Radio, the Media Law Companion app is designed to provide radio programmers with the necessary information and tools to comply with the station’s current media law training program. 3CR airs more than 120 programs each week, which are run by approximately 400 volunteer programmers. This app provides volunteers with accessible educational material and a risk assessment tool in which they can assess their content by answering a series of targeted questions. The app then provides a report highlighting potential media law issues.
L-R: Ben Stern, Wesley Yu, Joanna Yi, Andrea Ko, Berenice Geaboc, Mikaela Farrugia, Octavian Catrinei.
Designed to assist the Alfred Health research organisation, the MiConsent app has been developed to digitise the consent process for participants involved in research studies. The current paper-based process involves informing patients of the study, signing and then storing the consent forms. MiConsent allows participants to give consent online and provides them with information about the study requirements as well as withdrawal and re-consent procedures. MiConsent will also allow researchers to access the most up-to-date consent information, as well as current contact details of participants.
My Care, My Choice
L-R: Stephen Tsaketas, Suyu (Daisy) Dai, Sverre Gunnersen, Marc Eastmure, Lauren Miller, Brittany Baker.
The My Care, My Choice app has been developed for MLS academic Dr Carolyn Johnston, to be used in her research regarding advance care planning. Engaging with healthcare services can sometimes be associated with feelings of shame and fears of discrimination. Research has shown these challenges are often compounded for members of the LGBTIQ+ community. The My Care, My Choice app provides a safe environment for the LGBTIQ+ community to engage with the health industry via video. Users can access questionnaires to help create ‘value directives’, with the option to produce a legally binding advance care directive. Resources regarding trigger warnings, sexuality/gender-based terminology and LGBTIQ+ services are also accessible through the app.