Singapore’s Second Minister for Law is excited about the “new frontier” for legal technology and the future delivery of legal services around the world.
Editor’s note: The Autumn 2022 edition of Lawyers Weekly’s quarterly digital magazine included a feature titled The Metaverse, the law and the future. To read that feature, click here.
Speaking last week at TechLaw.Fest 2022 in Singapore, that nation’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong SC (pictured) said that the metaverse — what he described as a conjunction of the word “meta” (meaning beyond) and “universe” and generally refers to the concept of a highly immersive virtual world — is an “exciting new frontier” for all forms of technology, including legal.
“What might seem impossible today, could be possible or a reality tomorrow, with the advancement of technology,” he mused.
“Whilst we cannot as yet be certain of the final state at this point on what the metaverse will evolve into, many are confident of its future,” he noted, with a recent Bloomberg Intelligence report having estimated that the market opportunity in this space is worth approximately US$800 billion.
To Minister Tong’s mind, there is “no reason why” legal services cannot be delivered in the metaverse, in the same way that “a highly personalized, very intimate, once-in-a-lifetime event, like solemnisation of marriages, can take place in the metaverse”.
“The pandemic has already shown us that even dispute resolution — once seen to be a physical, high-touch process. You must see the witness, look at the whole demeanour. Cross-examination was one particular skill that is needed to be very much in-person — can also be held almost entirely online,” he recalled.
“Many lawyers have already embraced it. And still do. Today, with life in most parts of the