“Let it be”, my friend said as I tried to convince her to file an FIR. Earlier that day, her bag had been stolen by some goons who have been causing quite a nuisance in the area. On further inquiry, she explained her qualms about approaching the authorities and it all began to make sense to me. She explained that she was not entirely sure how to go about the procedure of filing the FIR and she felt that there was a good chance she would lose more than she stood to gain in the first place.
This got me thinking. If a citizen is so apprehensive about a simple legal procedure, what must they go through when it comes to the more complex issues of say property rights or even fundamental rights?
The perplexing complexity of the 19th century laws and their drawn out commentaries are intimidating even for the brave-hearted. And the sad reality of lawyers with thick files and judges in their high chairs exchanging a verbal volley of jargon while the layman stands in a corner watching, as his/her fate is decided is all too real. It is natural then for individuals to opt out of exercising their rights and propagate a ‘let it be’ attitude.
And it is in this moment that the entire legal system fails its sole purpose. The laws are not supposed to be accessible to only a few. They are the prerogative of each citizen. They must not only be a shield for those whose rights are oppressed but should also be the sharp sword which empowers the individual to protect their rights against any encroachment. Therefore it is imperative that each citizen is able to appreciate the full extent of these privileges and duties without having to surrender to whims and fancies of the few privileged lawyers.
The present legal system is like a maze to the ordinary citizen. What we need, is a guide who can take us through, step by step. A legal innovation of this nature will not be achieved by merely demanding simpler laws but by creating tools and resources which present these complex laws in simple terms. And this is how LawForMe was born.
The idea behind LawForMe lies at the intersection of law, technology and design. It aims to change the way people interact with the legal system. When we understand what we are dealing with, we deal with it better; and when we deal with it better, no room is left for inefficiency in the system. We believe that by designing better information and adding the versatility of technology, we can ensure that each citizen can participate and claim his or her rights. Law is for you, law is from you. Law(is)ForMe!