Syncopate (also known as the Digital Legal Systems Lab) reflects our commitment to demonstrating the benefits of better digital legal systems through applied examples, working directly with real clients and stakeholders on real systems.
Syncopate was founded based on our commitment to the rule of law, to public service and the public interest, and making sure digital systems and legal systems better reflect one another.
Ineffective and inefficient systems not only hurt to use, but can cause real harm too, to the people who use them, and the people who are affected by the outcomes they produce.
We think society can do better and we’re committed to supporting that work.
How we can work with you.
The Syncopate team brings shared experience and a proven track record over a number of years, melding our experience in law, policy, and technology. We bring experience working closely with government teams, sit happily alongside internal staff, and also comfortably play a role working with other external contractors.
Ultimately, our goal is to work with you to build integrated digital regulatory systems that work.
Team & Technical Capability
Tom Barraclough is the director of the Brainbox Institute and a co-founder of Syncopate Lab.
Tom is a legal researcher and consultant specialising in law and tech policy, engaged in leading global multi-stakeholder projects around tech regulation, and working closely with domestic government agencies over extended periods.
Previous clients and partners have included the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Taumata Arowai, the Human Rights Commission, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Accident Compensation Corporation, as well as the Global Network Initiative, and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.
Tom is passionate about the opportunities presented by better integration of law, technology and public policy systems.
Hamish Fraser is a software developer, researcher and director of Verb and a co-founder of Syncopate Lab.
Hamish is committed to building better digital civic infrastructure and is a recognised pioneer of rules as code and the “better rules” programmes.
Hamish recently served as a member of the Technical Review Committee for the Singapore Management University’s Yong Pung How School of Law giving an invited keynote for their conference on computational law.
Hamish has worked over extended periods with the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry for the Environment, the City of Vancouver, the Accident Compensation Corporation, Wellington City Council, the United Nations Development Programme and Taumata Arowai.
Syncopate is a public interest consultancy. It uses digital and computational systems to design, implement and reform law and regulation.
Syncopate is a joint venture by the Brainbox Institute and Verb, alongside a network of collaborators. We exist to help governments, business and the public to navigate an increasingly complex world, where law and digital systems are increasingly colliding.
Syncopate grew from a year-long research exercise investigating the merits of “legislation as code”, a specific component of the wider law as code and “rules as code” movement. It exists to apply the insights gleaned from that research and our wider engagement with government, civil society, academia, and the private sector.
Founded on ideals of pragmatism, responsible innovation, and collaboration, Syncopate will publish its findings and outputs wherever possible. Beyond existing projects, we are seeking partners and clients across government, academia, industry, and civil society. We think that digital implementations of legal systems have significant potential, but we can only move beyond theoretical potential through responsible experimentation in real world environments, sharing our findings in the public interest.
The relationship between technology and society is evolving faster than ever, and the tools and technologies of the law must evolve to keep pace. We think there’s a sweet spot where nimble, digitally-integrated approaches can improve outcomes for governments, businesses and citizens alike. We’re constantly looking for our next project and welcome contact about any opportunities.