A new service backed by Barclays Bank has been launched to provide better online access to the Irish courts.
Courtsdesk, a news and data service, will "make getting access to the courts a 21st-century tool", according to its founder, Enda Leahy.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Leahy said that all the research up to now has been focused to cater for lawyers or barristers. He believes that it's "extremely" difficult for people to conduct insightful research into the courts.
A former journalist with the Mail on Sunday, Mr Leahy found getting access to courts records to be "a nightmare", which gave him the idea for this business.
Interest in the service has been relatively strong, he said. The company has signed up two of the top four law firms in the country as well as four national newspapers.
Initial capital for the business came from both Enterprise Ireland and the global business accelerator programme Techstars , which invested $120,000.
A small group of Irish investors have also backed the company, Mr Leahy said, although he wouldn’t disclose who they were or how much they had provided in backing.
While the cost of the service is still unclear, it is understood that certain parts of the service will incur a cost per user per year, while other packages could charge on the basis of data downloaded.
“We envisage that we’ll have users in all the top 20 law firms in the next six months. All the news organisations will be using us,” Mr Leahy said.
The company plans to internationalise its offering and says it hopes to start mapping the UK courts in the first quarter of next year. “We have users confirmed in London who want us to set up the same business model in the US,” Mr Leahy added. The company’s founder said that he’s been in front of a dozen large venture capitalists in London and has one confirmed to come on board.