Speech by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court: The Foundation for Science and Technology

Debate on how the adoption of new technology can be accelerated to improve the efficiency of the justice system.

I am honoured to have been asked to open this memorial debate to recognise the contribution made by Sir Brian Neill to the promotion and adoption of new technology by the court system. I knew Sir Brian best in his latter years when he was Chairman of the Trustees of the Slynn Foundation, of which I am still a trustee.  It was extraordinary that in 2009, when I became a trustee, and for some 5 or 6 years afterwards until he was well over 90, he continued to travel widely across Europe on behalf of the Slynn Foundation on missions to enhance the justice systems in several counties in Eastern and Southern Europe.  He was hugely respected and, of course, injected his enthusiasm for new technology in the legal space into his projects to improve the rule of law in these states.

The debate tonight asks how the adoption of new technology can be accelerated to improve the efficiency of the justice system. This is a question of huge importance in the context of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rapid development of Fintech, Legaltech and Regtech, and the fact that young people in the 21st century are unlikely to accept the delivery of justice for consumers or business at the ponderous speeds accepted as the norm in the past.  You can now get everything you want in the world the same day or the next day by a few clicks on your mobile phone.  It is not reasonable to expect our citizens to wait years for a just outcome to a simple dispute.

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