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Media Release: Enhancing access to justice in the age of disruption: DBS and the Singapore Judiciary rally community with a social purpose hackathon

Participants will engage in ‘slow-burn’ hackathon over three months to develop innovative solutions for equitable access to justice in post-Covid-19 Singapore

In looking to pre-emptively address the impact the Covid-19 pandemic may cast on Singapore’s social fabric, DBS and the Singapore Judiciary are jointly organising the inaugural ‘Hackathon for a Better World’ to start an action-oriented dialogue on transforming access to justice. This hackathon aims to encourage those with a passion to use law as a force for good to explore innovative solutions to enhance social justice.

2. ‘Hackathon for a Better World’ stems from a shared desire by both DBS and the Singapore Judiciary to encourage the community to reimagine access to justice in the post-Covid-19 era, in light of impending shifts in the political, social and business landscape. In doing so, both organisations hope to foster a better understanding of social justice in Singapore, while creating a platform for participants to nurture creative ideas for furthering legal innovation. This also marks the first such collaboration between the Singapore Judiciary and a private corporation to encourage public innovation in the justice system.

3. 37 teams comprising members from diverse backgrounds, ranging from practising lawyers, legal technologists, law students and staff from DBS and the Singapore Judiciary, have registered for this hackathon. They will be challenged to “hack” problem statements developed by DBS and the Singapore Judiciary:

  • What role can the legal profession play to help everyone in society have better access to justice?
  • How can businesses and the legal system collaborate to provide easier access to justice and improve customer experiences?
  • How can the justice system become more agile, responsive and flexile to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving society?

4. Mr Lam Chee Kin, Group Head of Legal, Compliance and Secretariat at DBS, said, “A post-pandemic world will still need to find common ground for trade and international relations, cultivated on universal and foundational concepts such as rule of law and access to justice. We are humbled to partner the Singapore Judiciary, and have chosen access to justice as our theme because it fosters a sense of community at many levels.”

5. Mr Tan Ken Hwee, Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer for the Singapore Judiciary said “We are very happy to partner DBS in this hackathon. COVID-19 has shown that transformation is not just possible – it is essential if we are to meet the challenges brought about by this pandemic and other uncertainties. Learning from proven innovation frameworks used in leading private sector companies can enhance legal transformation and innovation and enhance access to justice.”

A Different Hack for a Different Hackathon

6. ‘Hackathon for a Better World’ adopts a unique “learn-as-you-hack” format, where participants work on their problem statements over the course of three months through an iterative process. This is unlike the usual hackathon format where participants solve problem statements over a few hours or a few days. The unconventional approach adopted in this instance allows participants to have ample room and space for their creativity while managing their existing commitments. This also creates a more conducive environment for participants to have deeper discussions with their identified stakeholders to shape sharper, more meaningful responses to the complex challenges before them.

7. Participants will submit their pitches by 27 July and undergo a design thinking masterclass by DBS to learn about the bank’s in-house ‘4D’ (Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver) innovation framework, so that they are equipped with the basic tools to identify potentially under-serviced societal needs, gain empathy and synthesise insights in developing their proposals. In addition, participants will be able to check in with mentors from DBS, the Singapore Judiciary, and volunteers from Singapore’s legal community for additional guidance.

8. All submissions will be judged at the Tech.Law Fest 2020, currently scheduled on 1 October, with the winners expected to be announced shortly after.

Issued by:



20 JUL 2020


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