Capacity Building for Judicial Systems
Can artificial intelligence (AI) be used in judicial processes to reduce the pendency of cases? In response to this unstarred question in the Lok Sabha during the first part of the Budget session of Parliament, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that while implementing phase two of the eCourts projects, under operation since 2015, a need was felt to adopt new, cutting edge technologies of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase the efficiency of the justice delivery system. AI steps forward to process capacity building for judicial system.
It is common knowledge that the Indian judiciary suffers from the issue of a vast backlog of cases. A September 2021 report states that in India, high courts list 5.8 million pending cases, even though their average rate of disposal between 2015 and 2019 was about 1.8 million cases per year. As new-age technologies such as AI, ML, and NLP have penetrated almost all industries, their use in law and order can prove to be of immense help in improving our judicial system.
AI and big data analytics have already made their entry in the law and order space throughout the world. Prometea is an AI tool built in Argentina by the Innovation and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the School of Law of the University of Buenos Aires and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Buenos Aires. It aims to speed up bureaucratic processes to get more time for the analysis of complex cases. It can also identify urgent cases across large volumes of files in two minutes.
Brazil has also deployed AI in justice delivery. It uses an AI tool named “VICTOR” to conduct preliminary case analysis to reduce the burden on the court. It is used by the Brazilian Supreme Court and provides analysis of cases through NLP and document analysis. UNESCO is also developing online training for judicial operators on AI and the Rule of Law. It said that the training will stimulate a participative dialogue with judicial operators on AI-related innovations in the judicial system and court rulings concerning artificial intelligence. It has conducted a survey of judicial operators worldwide to understand the relevant issues in this area. The survey received 1265 responses in seven languages from judicial operators in 100 countries globally.
In the past decade, there has been considerable discussion around the design, development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, in India, the NITI Aayog recently published an approach paper on the need to harness AI in a responsible and ethical manner. The Indian judiciary, which has already created basic information and communication technology infrastructure under the eCourts Project, is now looking to leverage AI’s potential as well. In the last two years, the Supreme Court’s AI committee has already launched and piloted a neural translation tool (SUVAAS), and more recently, a court administration tool (SUPACE). In view of this, it becomes abundantly clear that the talk of integrating AI into the justice system is not a futuristic endeavour, decades from now. In fact, it is already being designed and deployed in certain areas, with the intention of improving institutional efficiency.
Integrating artificial intelligence in the judicial decision-making process will improve administrative efficiency in courts, expedite the process and improve access to justice. AI is a great tool to be deployed in justice delivery if done ethically. Another area that policymakers have to be very careful about is data protection and prevention of leaks of sensitive information. If the law-making bodies can address these concerns and form rules accordingly, then the benefits of AI can trickle down to everyone and ensure a smoother justice delivery system in the country.