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Bar offers free app to report bullying and harassment

By: Monidipa Fouzder

The Bar Council has turned to artificial intelligence to help barristers report bullying and harassment quickly and anonymously.

Talk to Spot, a smatphone app developed by Spot, a US tech company, will enable barristers to talk through and record contemporaneously inappropriate behaviour at work. Barristers can choose to save the report for their own records, or print the report and sent it to their chambers, employer, other bodies or the Bar Council.

The Bar Council says no human, nor the Spot team, will see what a barrister discusses with Spot unless they decide to submit a report, which they can do anonymously.

A global study led by the International Bar Association, published earlier this year, showed that bullying and harassment is endemic in the law.

Spot’s website states that its tool is ‘an anonymous bot that uses AI to help employees remember and document the details of what happened’, which is ‘available to listen 24/7’. Once a report is submitted, the company says employers can ask follow-up questions and let the employee know they’ve taken action.

Richard Atkins QC, Bar Council chair, said the free app was another innovative use of technology.

He said: ‘Although barristers wear wigs and gowns in court, it should not for a moment be thought that the bar does not embrace technology. Paper is disappearing from our courts, with most members of the bar using laptops rather than carrying large paper bundles wrapped in pink ribbon.’

Talk to Spot will be available for barristers this month, the regulator said.

(Courtesy: Law Society Gazette)