A student who did not invent the UK's first robot lawyer has won attention by claiming that he has invented the UK's "first robot lawyer".

As everyone knows, a robot lawyer is a machine on wheels or perhaps metal legs with arms like the terminator and gavel hands. It has a rubber lawyer's face stretched over a metal skull, unblinking red eyes and wifi. It eats oil, not regular food, it might be evil and whenever it is presented with a paradox its head explodes. It just can't deal with them.

Joshua Browder's so-called 'robot' has none of these qualities. Last year the computer science student launched a not-for-profit website, donotpay.co.uk after successfully challenging Camden Council over several parking fines. When he was overwhelmed with enquiries, Browder wrote a program to help Joe Public. The 19-year-old's software asks aggrieved recipients of parking tickets a series of questions which vary depending on the answers given, and which are intended to determine whether or not the human has a legitimate case. If they do, the program processes their claim free of charge. Browder told Legal Futures, “It’s quite good with flights, parking tickets, and PPI, but if you ask on something other than those topics then it needs some help". When that happens, "the user gets a helpful message and I will get notified in the back end, so I go in and try and make it better".

After being royally done over by the unbending parking authorities only last week, I decided to try out Clampo 3000, even though it lied immediately about being a robot.

Browder told the Law Gazette that any adverse impact on parking ticket lawyers was unintentional collateral damage. "I don’t want to make anyone unemployed", he said. "I just want to automate a basic task so solicitors can move onto other, more complicated work". And if that's their only work or if they prefer simple tasks for mindfulness reasons, tough luck. "People are making money from parking fines", said Frankenstein 2.0. "They are glorified secretaries and they are exploiting people".

Browder is developing software to enable his program to recognise Arabic so that it can answer immigration queries, instead of knuckling down and building a proper robot lawyer like this one.

    "I'll be back... with that draft! And to kill you."



Anonymous 20 January 16 14:04

If he's a student (and a computer science student at that) is he not committing an offence in terms of holding himself out as a solicitor?