CourtHack in November from NCSC


The National Center on State Courts is sponsoring CourtHack, a hackathon about how courts could be improved in November in Salt Lake City. Registration is open now — it’s free (though you have to put a deposit down) and there are lots of prizes to win.

Here are the details:


Matheson Courthouse, 450 State Street, Salt Lake City, UT

The brightest legal minds, technologists, entrepreneurs, and others driven by a need to improve the courts for their fellow Americans will form teams and compete in this epic, 30-hour hackathon. Technical, business and legal mentors from partners and sponsors are matched with teams they can actively support before, during, and after the event.

Friday’s “Voices from the Field” discussion panel brings industry experts to share their insights and experiences so participants get a better understanding of the challenges. Afterwards, participants can pitch their ideas and recruit or join teams.

Fri, Nov 13


Sat, Nov 14


Sizeable cash and non-cash prizes, invaluable mentorship opportunities, and a demo spot at a major court technology conference are up for grabs. In addition to the host of giveaways, our prizes are:


(chosen from the 4 challenge set winners)

  • $3000 additional award money
  • Trip to Las Vegas to demo at the e-Courts conference in December 2016
    (transportation, lodging, and meals covered for the entire team)
  • Lunch with a Utah Supreme Court Justice and the Court CIO

(chosen from the 8 challenge set winners and runners-up)

  • $2500 additional award money

  • Lunch with the Utah State Court Administrator and the Court CIO

And here is some background on possible subject matter & outcomes:



The core of every legal system is defined by access to complete, accurate, and timely information. Technologies developed in the past decades have completely revolutionized the way we interact with this information. Although times have changed, many aspects of our court systems have not. Historically mired before the ever-widening digital gap, our institutions have much catching-up to do.

The CourtHack hackathon is an initiative by the National Center for State Courts and HackerNest that directly addresses this problem. Hackathons have become the de facto mechanism of choice for innovative product/service businesses to emerge – the most practical, meritocratic, and efficient way of vetting new ideas into implementation. CourtHack will serve as a symbol to help shape public perception (as one of the first-ever court-related hackathons) of how the justice and legal community intend to work with the technology community.

An important highlight is that court experts including judges, court administrators, and CIOs from around the country will be lending their expertise as members of our very distinguished panel of judges. It is exactly these kinds of strong, high-profile partnerships that distinguish CourtHack in terms of pedigree, credibility, and reach.

Approximately 100 participants will form teams and compete for sizeable cash and non-cash prizes, invaluable mentorship opportunities, key meetings with industry decision-makers, and a demo spot at a major court technology conference. Pride, respect, and recognition, of course, all come standard with victory.



Our continually-in-development challenge sets are created in consultation with esteemed partners and designed to help shape how participants approach their projects. The challenges contained within each category are suggestions, not restrictions, of things teams can build that will have an immediate and beneficial impact on people’s lives.


  • e.g. reporting and monitoring of guardianship assignments for red flag behaviour. Using predictive analytics based on cases that have gone wrong will help courts focus their resources before disaster strikes.

Online Efficiency:

  • e.g. streamlining rote court transactions like paying parking fines, applying for permits, etc. Sometimes the public just wants easier, more convenient ways to transact business with the court, when Justice with a capital J is not involved.


  • e.g. the need for legal speed: dispatch of emergency protective orders / remote hearings. Speeding up the flow of court information to and from the public and the court’s justice system partners is key to personal and public safety.


  • this is the ‘blue skies’ creative category containing any projects that don’t neatly fit elsewhere



1. Demos must be functional: no slideshows/pure design mockups.

2. Fresh code only. APIs and libraries are fine… but not if you wrote them. Winners may have code reviewed.

3. Teams can have up to 5 members.

4. Have excellent personal hygiene. ^_^

5. Be pleasant.

We reserve the right to eject anyone for violation of any of the rules above, especially #5. Just be sunshine and rainbows. Easy!

Note: there will likely be media at all the events, so if you’re not comfortable being on camera and having your likeness show up in noncommercial CourtHack videos, wear a large hat. <3

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