LawBot: A Chatbot For Victims of Crime

by Ben Alford

Created over the summer by a group of Cambridge students passionate about access to justice, ‘LawBot’ is the UK’s first legal chatbot designed to help victims of crime.

Not everyone’s a lawyer, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid dealing with the law,

especially if you might have been a victim of crime. The law can seem like a

minefield; unclear, complex, and potentially expensive. So, with that in mind, we

created LawBot; a chatbot that skips the legalese and offers free, plain-English

advice about UK law. If you think you might have been a victim of crime, LawBot

will have an informal, confidential conversation with you, to give you a clear idea

of where the law stands, and what you might be able to do.


LawBot’s main user-base is currently comprised of students, a demographic who

are just as likely to need legal advice as anyone else, but might normally find it

difficult or expensive to access. If a student thinks, for instance, that they might

have been a victim of assault or harassment, a barrier to moving forward might

be uncertainty about how exactly the law defines those crimes. That’s why

LawBot doesn’t just ask you questions; you can ask it to define terms, or

rephrase questions, to provide you with an answer that is clearly explained, not

just given without context.


LawBot is already smart, and it’s getting smarter all the time. Some of the

features we’ve implemented so far include:


 Full Confidentiality: The information you tell LawBot is, naturally,

private, so we understand how important it is that your conversations are

safeguarded. LawBot doesn’t make any record of what you tell it; chat

logs aren’t saved, and we couldn’t access conversation records even if we

wanted to.


 Legal Summaries: Once you’ve finished your chat with LawBot, it can

give you a legal-language summary of what you told it. If you decide to

take this to the police, the legal summary can help them easily ascertain

the nature of the crime. Plus, you might be saved from answering lots of

questions about the incident.


 Find your nearest Police Station: We’re committed to make LawBot as

practical and informative as we can. If, considering the legal knowledge

you’ve gained from LawBot, you’ve decided you want to report the crime

to the police, LawBot can now help you find your closest police station in

a handy map format.


 Unique Conversations: We’re teaching LawBot to be informal, sensitive

and empathetic. Randomised responses mean no two conversations will

be the same, and LawBot uses details like your age to tailor questions to

you, to make the conversation as streamlined and natural as possible.


 Definitions: At any time, you can ask LawBot to define a term, or let it

know you’re unsure about a question it’s asked you, and it will do its best

to clarify for you.


For more information on lawbot go to:

Twitter: @LawBot_UK


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