Administrator’s note:  This is an updated version of an article previously published to Court Leader on April 10, 2018.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze large data sets could greatly increase the effectiveness and usability of tools which can guide people through the resolution of legal disputes and assist them in making legal decisions. At the same time, there are a number of risks and shortcomings if these tools are not developed and used responsibly. The objective of this paper is to identify the benefits, risks, and risk mitigation measures associated with using AI in building and maintaining tools that assist users in navigating the judicial process or making legal decisions, including as part of a court web portal. The intended audience is people looking at the use of AI developed tools in courts. Given the potential advantages of using AI developed tools, the objective is to create an awareness of the types of risks and possible mitigation measures associated with the use of AI developed tools. The discussion is not a “how to” manual for developing AI tools for use in courts, nor are the differences and nuances of various AI approaches explored. While the discussion identifies risk mitigation approaches, it does not prescribe detailed solutions. One does not have to be an expert in AI and data science to understand and evaluate the use of AI developed tools in a court setting. And it is policy makers, not tool developers, that should establish goals and accountability for any AI developed tools.

Court Leader is pleased to present a special article by Alan Carlson.  Click here to continue reading.

3 thoughts on “Using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to Develop Tools Used in Courts

  1. In reading this article on AI and big data for use in developing tools used in courts, it is clear the author has a misconception or misunderstanding of the role courts play in the justice system. The tools listed in a paragraph 27-34 are a mixture of tools that courts might employ and ones litigants (and not courts) would employ. For example, paragraphs 29 & 31 are aimed at litigants, particularly where the focus of paragraph 31 is to avoid coming to courts at all. The article would have been much more straightforward and understood if titled to indicate that it discusses AI and big data in the context of litigants’ access to the justice system and also about tools courts may employ. The current title is misleading in that sense. The same differentiation could be carried throughout the paper. For example, paragraph 32 would be useful for those courts who accept proposed orders from litigants or counsel, (though a significant number of courts do not accept proposed orders for very valid reasons), because the tool could be used to create the proposed order. Similarly, the analysis provided by the tool in paragraph 32 would be helpful to the litigant who appeals an order they view as unjust. But the value proposition of paragraph 32 to the court who is creating and issuing the order is not made in this article. The same can be said for other tools listed where the value proposition to the court is not made in this article.


    1. Response from the Author of the article:
      The discussion of use cases in paragraphs 26 to 34 was intended to give the reader some concrete examples of how AI might be used. This provided context for the subsequent more generic discussion of risks. As was clearly stated in paragraph 26, the examples are of existing or potential AI tool use cases “in the justice system”, not just courts. Moreover, the whole paper assumes a broader view of what services the courts need to provide to litigants to be relevant in today’s world. Many courts are providing services to litigants such as those listed because it is good caseflow management to have litigants appear once with the correct paper work properly filled out, rather than repeatedly rejecting documents and making litigants appear multiple times. Many courts also offer other, appropriate, dispute resolution options that might make court appearances unnecessary. Offering these services is not only consistent with the role of courts, but supports rule of law and increases public trust and confidence in courts.


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