Making justice fair and accessible for all

Participants: this is the live-updated page with all CourtHack info. Schedule below.


  • we're doing demo tech checks at 3pm - let's make sure your demo setup works!


General notes:

  • we have meals in the cafeteria for you every 4-6 hours; sorry, facilities says no food on carpet
  • you'll need to pass through a metal detector for every meal
  • you have 3 mins to demo, 2 mins of judge Q&A
  • "Voices From the Field" at 6pm gives you incredible insights from court experts - we'll do a quick team matching exercise immediately after
  • we're randomly giving away dozens of $100 and $50 gift cards at meals, enjoy
  • we have wandering mentors aplenty 8pm onwards, wristband colors below, talk to them!


  • green = participants
  • white = staff/organizers/partners/media
  • yellow = protection order expert mentor 
  • purple = online efficiency expert mentor
  • blue = guardianship expert mentor

We're going to call each team up for photos + survey (for demos), you'll need:

  • Team or Project name
  • Names/emails of each team member
  • One-liner description of your project, under ~20 words-ish

...this is to help judges remember your team.





  • 5pm - registration
  • 6pm - Voices from the Field panel + team matching
  • 8pm - hackathon start, mentors wander
  • 8pm - dinner available
  • 11:59pm - dinner, round 2


  • 4am - pre-breakfast
  • 8am - breakfast
  • ~8am - mentors return to check up on you
  • 10am - survey + team photos
  • 12pm - lunch
  • 3pm - demo tech checks
  • 4pm - heavy snacks/pseudo-dinner
  • 6pm - hackathon ends!
  • 6:30pm - demos and judging begin
  • ~8pm - deliberations, actual dinner
  • ~9pm - winners announced!




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 challenges are created in consultation with our 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.

1. Accountability: Predictive Analytics to Target Court Oversight


Sandra’s Story: Sandra is a widow. Her cousin Elma was appointed by the court to handle her finances, but Sandra believes Elma has been stealing from her. Sandra doesn’t have a way to prove this and fears she will soon be out on the street.

Court Technology Opportunity: Courts are legally responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in estate assets – both willed and in situations of conservatorships. Though they’re supposed to review these cases annually, most courts simply don’t have the capacity or resources. As a result, it’s difficult to know when financial abuses take place.

  • Resources:  Two training data sets from Minnesota, proposed red flag algorithms, the results of an NCSC analytics review, and a subject matter expert.
  • Possible Deliverables: Teams analyze data from Minnesota and identify algorithms to flag cases of potential abuse automatically.

2. Public Access to Justice: Apps, Tools, and Processes to improve access to justice and allow the public to resolve disputes efficiently


Ben’s Story: Ben ran out to buy food at the grocery store and got pulled over by the police, who noticed his taillight was out. In his haste, he had left home without his wallet. The officer gave him a ticket for driving without a license and for the defective taillight. The fines total $548. He fixed the tail light and has a valid license, now he needs to get this information to the court without missing work. He needs a way to go online and explain his case and provide proof of compliance.

Court Technology Opportunity: Courts lag other industries badly in web and mobile technologies. Simple mobile apps that enable citizens to complete core transactions through remote access will significantly improve efficiency, and help to move cases forward in a timely and affordable manner.

  • Resources:  List of transactions, data models for some of the transactions, subject matter experts.
  • Possible Deliverables:  Tools and mobile apps that implement target transactions with court:
    • Pay a fine or fee.
    • Protest a fee or fine and plead your case.
    • Look up a court date.
    • Retrieve a case file document.
    • File a case.
    • File a case document.
    • Notify a party of a case action.
    • Schedule a court hearing.
    • Schedule a community service sanction.
    • Track a community service sanction (GPS location).
    • Request a reduction of fees or fines due to not having money.


3. Legal Speed: Remote dispatch of emergency protection orders


Maria’s Story: Maria has an extremely controlling husband who violently abuses her. She knows the first step to leaving him is to get an emergency protection order to protect herself and her kids, but she can’t leave the house without arousing suspicion. Maria needs a way to have a protective order issued to her remotely so she can begin the process of escaping her situation. She also needs to know that the police will have access to the order the next time the neighbors call them to their apartment building.

Court Technology Opportunity: 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.

  • Resources: Expertise and example data sets provided on site.
  • Possible Deliverables: An app to facilitate the application process combined with video conferencing to expedite the process.


4. Wild Card: Gaps in the Court System
CourtHack wants your creative, out-of-the-box thinking! If you have an idea that doesn’t fit within the previous challenge sets, run with it. You can help reinvent how people interact with the courts to make it more efficient and pleasant for all involved.

Two examples to inspire you: 


Amir’s Story: Amir came to the US four years ago. He recently received a notice in the mail alerting him that he has been called for jury duty. Although he would like to fulfill his obligation as a citizen, he isn’t sure that his English is good enough for this important responsibility. He is confused by the instructions in the notice, and needs access to an interpreter or information in his native language in order to find out what to do.


Marina’s Story: Marina studies full time and works evenings and weekends. After saving enough to buy a car and move to a better apartment, her landlord refused to refund her security deposit. Because of her work and studies, she doesn’t have time to go to the courthouse to settle this, and has been unable to find information online on how to force her landlord to refund her deposit.

Court Technology Opportunity: There are numerous gaps in the court system and court technology market that can be addressed by CourtHack participants.

  • Resources: On-site experts from both the court system and court technology companies. There will be court experts in attendance who are are knowledgeable about current court problems, useful innovations and desired services.
  • Possible Deliverables: Constrained only by the imagination and skill of the programmers (i.e. online dispute resolution, litigant portals, business rule engines for managing cases).



View full rules


This is an in-person hackathon; all members of your team must be physically present at the hackathon venue in Salt Lake City in order to be considered for prizing. If you are not at least the age of legal majority, you must have written consent from your parent/guardian for claiming any travel-related prizes. There will be media and press crews at the event; participation requires consent to reasonable use for related promotional and marketing purposes.


You'll need to submit everything you developed and any other supplemental info you feel is important in a zipfile. Images of things really help (especially hardware!)

Include a .TXT file that has the following:

- team/project name
- brief one-liner description of your project (try to stick to around ~20 words please)
- full description of your project (objective, beneficiary, actual solution, technology stack, etc.)
- full names, email addresses, mailing address, and phone numbers of each member of your team


Constandinos Himonas

Constandinos Himonas
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke
VP Research & Technology, National Center for State Courts

Robin Sweet

Robin Sweet
State Court Administrator, Supreme Court of Nevada

Margaret Hagan

Margaret Hagan
Fellow, Stanford Law School

Clint Betts

Clint Betts
CEO, Beehive Startups

Matt Burns

Matt Burns
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

Kevin Bowling

Kevin Bowling

Noah Aron

Noah Aron
VP & General Manager, One Legal

Judging Criteria

  • Impact
    How will this improve the life of the beneficiary?
  • Practicality
    Think 'usability' - does this fit into people's lives, is it adoptable?
  • Feasibility
    Can this team realistically pull off a deployment to the public/courts/etc?
  • Creativity & Technical Innovation