Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.50 8 Jul 2020


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An Irish firm has received a stg£70,000 (€77,779) grant in Britain to supply the media with information about court cases in England and Wales.

Courtsdesk is building a legal database to improve accessibility as part of a pilot study.

Enda Leahy is the founder of Dublin-based Courtsdesk.

He told Breakfast Business: "There are about a million and a half court cases every year in the UK.

"Between us with Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service, we've been given the first access to try and turn this into a digital search and tracking tool for the media.

"We are building a platform right now with grant funding from the government to help improve the news landscape, but particularly to improve court reporting".

"Every single criminal court case in England and Wales would now be effectively a data feed each day - including outcomes, sentences, charges - all information pertaining to the case that's available digitally."

"There was a big government review called the Cairncross Review into the sustainability of the news ecosystem, the news industry.

"And she found lots of problems and lots of challenges facing the news ecosystem.

"The government then decided to appoint a stg£2m fund to try and find innovative ways to improve this.

"We applied to this fund - it was a competitive fund - about 200 companies applied, and we were one of the 20 selected and we got the biggest grant funding of £70,000.

"That was just the start; the real challenge was to be trusted by the courts service to access this information and to make it available, which we succeeded in doing."

"We've already signed up the two biggest newspaper groups - Reach Plc and Newsquest - that's about 400 titles.

"But we're also now on the media working group with the courts service, so every single media organisation in the country is involved in that".

"The remit here is to create a commercial model that can take what is effectively an open data project and build a business model where we're providing genuine value and news organisations pay us for that."

"By Q1 of next year, we should be looking at having a commercial project available, assuming the pilot goes according to plan".

Main image: An exterior of the Royal Courts of Justice in London England. Picture by: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

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Cairncross Review Courtsdesk Enda Leahy England And Wales Ireland

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