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Can artificial intelligence and machine learning put the justice system in the fast lane?

Need felt to adopt state-of-the-art technology for court service delivery system, Justice Minister tells Parliament

Need felt to adopt state-of-the-art technology for court service delivery system, Justice Minister tells Parliament

Can artificial intelligence (AI) be used in court processes to reduce case wait times? In response to this starless question in the Lok Sabha during the first part of the budget session of Parliament, the Minister for Law, Kiren Rijiju, said that during the implementation of phase two of the eCourts projects, in ongoing since 2015, there has been a need to adopt new cutting-edge machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to increase the efficiency of the justice delivery system.

“To explore the use of AI in the judicial field, the Supreme Court of India has constituted a committee on artificial intelligence which has mainly identified the application of AI technology in the translation of documents judicial; Legal research assistance and process automation,” Mr. Rijiju said.

Many law firms are now keen to try new technologies for quick reference on court precedents and decisions on cases with similar legal issues. Mumbai-based “legal tech” company Riverus has developed ML apps that sift through troves of cases, “understand” them, and analyze cases with similar content — much like a human expert would — in a fraction of the time. time.

One of the applications, specifies Dipankar Bandopadhyay, lawyer and founding director of the firm, is specific to tax law, and the other to the preparation of contracts. After “training” the application on a large historical set of precedents, the application is able to highlight key points that are relevant in specific contracts.

“Suppose you want to find the rulings of a specific court or judge on black money. You can use the software to analyze thousands of past cases and create a “Judge’s Analysis”. It’s faster than asking someone to sit down and prepare a huge Excel sheet, which is too much work for one person,” Bandopadhyay said. “In contracts, I can analyze it through the system and give you a kind of x-ray report on missing points, what’s present.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of technology for e-filing and virtual hearings has increased dramatically. From the start of the lockdown in 2020 until January 8 this year, the Supreme Court of India has become a global leader in holding 1,81,909 virtual hearings.

The High Courts (57.39 lakh cases) and Lower Courts (1,08 36,087 cases) together conducted 1.65 crore virtual hearings till November 30, 2021 according to Ministry of Justice data.

But the use of ML in the Indian legal sphere has so far been limited to automating back-end work, and is still very far from being used as a decision support tool for the system. judicial. Many judgments, especially in lower courts, are not yet fully digitized, but experts like Mr. Bandopadhyay say that according to global trends, greater adoption of these tools in the Indian legal system is inevitable.

SUVAS is a language learning application used to translate judgments, and SUPACE, which can write a legal brief, understands the initiatives undertaken in the Indian judicial system in the integration of ML-based applications, has said Ameen Jauhar, who directs the Center for Applied Research in Law and Technology at the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy.

Controversial automated systems were used to adjudicate bail applications in parts of the United States, and other countries like Estonia have incorporated AI and ML in major ways. But India’s legal system is generally “more conservative”, and more needs to be done to make Indian legal data compatible with ML formats, he added.

Sanjay K. Chadha, managing partner of a Delhi-based law firm, BSK Legal, said AI and ML can be tried in courts where “there is no need for oral evidence and rebuttals. examination”.

“Consumer courts are one area where AI can help. But in criminal cases where oral evidence and cross-examination are key processes, we have to rely on regular human intervention,” Mr. Chadha.