Artificial Intelligence: A Judicial Approach
Written by Himanshu Tyagi.
Fifth Year, BA. LLB. Symbiosis Law School, Pune.
Disclaimer: Please note that the views expressed below represent the opinions of the article's author. The following does not necessarily represent the views of Law & Order.
Imagine living in a country where the police investigate a crime with the aid of intelligent agents, the trial is commissioned with the support of machine intelligence, and the Court’s deliberation before pronouncing the Judgment is assisted by the surreal technology of artificial intelligence. All of this may seem utopian at first, but in reality, civilization is getting much closer to achieving the ripe fruit of Artificial Intelligence (AI) than we can imagine.
The Indian Judicial system has been facing an on-going crisis related to the backlog of cases, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even worse. Time and again, the judiciary has vigorously promoted the Alternate Dispute Resolution for the expeditious progress of cases. In a conference on ‘Judicial Process Re-engineering and Judicial Skill Building’,  the Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde pointed out that the powers under Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code (Settlement of dispute outside the Court) are not being utilized optimally. The CJI holds the opinion that pre-litigation mediation is the need of the hour in order to tackle the backdrop of significant pendency of cases in the Courts.
CJI Bobde is known for his libertarian approach, as he believes that if technology and law go hand in hand, speedy justice is possible. AI can exponentially improve the proficiency of judges and lawyers. Chief Justice Bobde, while addressing a function on ‘Constitution Day’ proposed the use of Artificial Intelligence in the administration of the Court to prevent the undue delay of justice. 
While stressing the fact that judges cannot be replaced by AI, CJI said that technology can act as an ‘assistant’ to the Court for the expeditious conclusion of proceedings.
The Indian Judiciary is currently facing a dearth of judges and hence, the pressure on the pre-existing judges to deliver quality judgments within a reasonable time frame has increased significantly. As per a McKinsey report, 23% of a lawyer’s job can be automated with the efficient usage of AI.  In a landmark study conducted by Stanford Law School, it was seen that an AI-based system called ‘LawGeex’ outperformed a team of 20 renowned US lawyers with an accuracy of 94% as compared to lawyer’s 85% of precision.  Just like lawyers, judges can also rely on AI-powered machines for accelerating various stages of a deliberation process for the timely disposal of the cases.
AI in Judiciary: Developments Around the Globe
Artificial Intelligence has immense potential to aid the judiciary for smooth decision-making and many countries are utilizing this technology for the advancement of the judicial system.
Beijing has installed a robot called ‘Xiao Fa’  at the Intermediate People’s Court that answers visitor’s queries verbally and also prints documents if necessary.
China has digitized the Court’s function by using AI-based robot-chatbot called ‘Fa Xiaotao’  which lets users analyze the case summary and help them to locate their lawyers.
China has gone a step further by introducing an AI-Judge named ‘Xinhua’,  which claims to be “the first of its kind in the world’. The AI-Judge is designed as an artificial female with a body, voice, and facial expressions based on an existing living judge in the Beijing Judicial Service. Xinhua primarily deals with basic repetitive casework, litigation reception, and online guidance.
A Singapore based Law Firm, Linklaters is using an AI program called ‘Nakhoda’  that allows a computer to recognize and respond to human language by which it can read text contracts and documents such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
One of India’s leading Law firms, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has also partnered with a Canadian AI assistant Kira System for contract analysis and review.
AI technology is assisting the legal community in every way possible; nonetheless, one cannot solely rely on technology in order to analyze the complexities of human behavior. Speaking at 79th Foundation Day of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, CJI Bobde reiterated his view that the Court has no intention to substitute the legal minds of Judges with the artificial mind. However, AI can be leveraged significantly in cases that are repetitive in nature, as well as in the process of document management,  which can potentially expedite the dispute resolution process.
In early 2018, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytical data scandal made it to the headlines, which reflected the shortcomings of the tech-world. AI can aid judicial reform, however, one has to be cautious of the possible risk of data abuse that endangers sensitive personal information and puts people’s lives at stake. It is also believed that AI has the potential to disrupt a $600 billion global legal industry, which is likely to affect struggling lawyers economically.
Artificial Intelligence works on an algorithm-based mechanism to arrive at conclusions and it is believed that algorithms cannot be prejudiced. However, this unique algorithm is to be coded by a human first, who can be biased.
Hence one cannot claim AI to be completely free of bias. After the Puttaswamy Case,  the collection and utilization of this kind of enormous data would be another challenge, as Data Privacy has become a huge concern after its inclusion in Part III of the Constitution.
Technology seems to be doing the ‘leg-work’ for judges and lawyers effectively, without removing human beings completely from the legal/judicial process. Therefore in spite of its shortcomings, AI technology is already in use across many countries. It is believed that AI can be beneficial in the justice delivery system however; it is imperative to produce AI-driven technology with circumspection. Given its intrinsic complexity, the Legislature must introduce policies governing the framework around the safe usage of AI.
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