Birkenhead XII

11 November 2019 - 18:00 to 20:15

Professor Richard Susskind OBE, FRSE, will deliver this year's annual Birkenhead lecture on: 'Technology and the Future of Courts'

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Registration: 5.45pm
Lecture: 6pm 
Location: Hall
Qualifying Session (QS): 1 QS 
Equivalent to 1 CPD hour (view the Bar Standards Board guidance for CPD)

The speaker

Professor Richard Susskind OBE is the world’s most cited author on the future of legal services. He is President of the Society for Computers and Law, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Internet Institute, and has been Technology Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice since 1998. In the 1980s, he wrote his doctorate on law and artificial intelligence at Balliol College, Oxford. His work has been translated into 15 languages and he has been invited to speak in over 50 countries. He has written ten books, including The Future of Law (1996), Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2ndedition, 2017) and Online Courts and the Future of Justice (forthcoming, November 2019). He holds professorships at Oxford University, UCL, Gresham College, and Strathclyde University. He is an Honorary Bencher at Gray’s Inn.

The lecture

At a time when more people in the world now have internet access than access to justice, this lecture will discuss the impending digital transformation of courts. It will be shown how the remarkable reach of the internet can help people understand and enforce their legal rights. Online courts will provide 'online judging' - the determination of cases by human judges but not in physical courtrooms. Instead, evidence and arguments will be submitted through online platforms on which judges will also deliver their decisions. Online courts will use technology to enable courts to deliver more than judicial decisions. These 'extended courts' will provide tools to help users understand relevant law and available options, and to formulate arguments and assemble evidence. They will offer non-judicial settlements such as negotiation and early neutral evaluation, not as an alternative to the public court system but as part of it. In this way, litigation will be transformed by technology. Looking much further ahead, the lecture will also consider the extent to which AI-based systems might even deliver binding determinations.

The First Earl of Birkenhead

The first Earl of Birkenhead, Frederick Edwin Smith GCSI, PC, KC was widely known for his witty retorts in both politics and the law.   He was a renowned  debater, barrister and parliamentary performer.  However, his  witticisms could also be considered offensive.  Indeed, his offensiveness took on an almost mythical nature in the retelling of his retorts in both Parliament and in the courtroom.  


Barrister members of all four Inns, solicitors and student members of Gray's Inn may attend this event.  

Book and pay online via the Gray's Inn Online System (GIOS)

Non-members can register for a GIOS account to book events available to non-members.

Booking will open approximately 8 weeks prior to the event and will close, (for barrister members) 4 clear working days and (for student members) 5 clear working days before the event. 

You must present your printed bar coded ticket at the door to enter the lecture.


  • Students & Barristers (Gray’s Inn members only) within 3 years of Call: £12
  • All others: £15

Qualifying Sessions

You must present your printed bar coded ticket at the door to enter and be accredited with a QS. 

The dress code for all Qualifying Sessions (QSs) unless otherwise stated is:

  • dark suits with white shirts (men and women) and ties (men)
  • gowns (students, barristers and benchers - except guests)

Please see Qualifying Sessions for further information.