CTL Q&A App – Inception and Future
The idea of developing a legal news and analysis portal was initiated in 2012 by the Founder of Courting The Law, Barrister Taimur Malik, to help sensitize people about their fundamental rights and at the same time provide a platform for the legal fraternity of Pakistan to pen their thoughts on some of the most intriguing legal issues haunting the Pakistani society. So far, not only has Courting The Law amassed great following but is also still being run without seeking external funds or developmental aid.
With the passage of time, we felt the need to expand our project and make it more beneficial for the public at large. Since most of our team members are also practising lawyers, we have always felt the need to build a platform which could provide accurate and swift legal advice to people, as and when required. We figured that the best way to ensure people get legal advice swiftly and without incurring inflated costs was through the use of smartphones and hence, we developed the Courting The Law App (available on both Play Store and Apple Store). This initiative has been the first of its kind in the field of legal tech, particularly in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that ‘equal access to justice’ is guaranteed by the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. However, in practice, it is hampered by the poor quality of existing services available to underserved communities, which has resulted in protracted litigation. In a recent report published by Dawn titled ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’, it was revealed that “it takes between 20 to 30 years to eventually resolve any moderately complex civil suit through the litigation system.” Even the right to state-sponsored legal aid is limited to serious crimes, despite the fact that the more pressing demands for legal aid by underprivileged communities are centered on civil cases, such as family court cases (alimony, child support, inheritance, etc.) and cases related to housing and employment. In such cases, the aggrieved persons usually either forego their claims or end up with the wrong legal advice given to them by incompetent lawyers and thus they end up without their rightful remedy. This makes it more challenging for them to access justice in cases that directly impact their day-to-day lives and there is no better way to improve their access to justice than a simple and smart mobile application.
Currently, the number of active mobile users in Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Telecom Authority, is 139,970,762 out of which 44,490,159 users are connected to the Internet through the usage of ‘mobile data’ i.e. 3G and 4G services being offered by the telecom companies currently operating in Pakistan. Hence, a mobile application that has been designed to cater to legal problems can reach far more people with lesser costs and resources and can produce far more effective results than the ones being aimed at through basic awareness campaigns. It is pertinent to mention here that the App already has over 7000 registered users and over 1300 questions have been answered to date by multiple users, allowing individuals who post legal queries make informed decisions regarding their legal matters.
Nevertheless, in line with rapid technological advances, we believe that there is a need to upgrade the application and bring on board more users with the help of Bar Councils. At the same time, we also believe that our legal tech initiative will go a long way and do wonders for people seeking legal advice for their day-to-day issues.