Artificial Intelligence is a way to replicate human thinking by feeding it with a database and using algorithms to extract and analyse the required data. Today, we are living in an AI and machine-surrounded world. Nowadays, cars have turned driverless, we have facial recognition security checks at airports, date and time entries with location navigation at workplaces, smart classes in schools, and all kinds of machines helping each stratum of society in millions of ways.
In the current age of advanced technology, we can also suggest robot justice or propose the use of Artificial Intelligence in the judiciary. There are claims that AI can be a solution to the issue of heavy pendency of cases in India (According to the most recent National Judicial Data Grid, NJDG), 3,89,41,148 cases are still unresolved at the high court level while 3,89,43,113 cases are still outstanding at the district and taluka levels and can help the judges in legal research far better and faster than the conventional sources, used by now. It would improve the efficiency of judges, expedite the court processes parallelly, and would also be conducive to repressing duty crimes in the judiciary. It allows for effective tracking, searching, editing, and archiving using OCR and machine-readable data. But there are a lot of challenges that go in juxtaposition with the use of AI, which we need to be vigilant of. Our discussions must include the possible implications of using AI to form opinions over human rights and the rule of law. Let us explore the whole idea more through this study.
Current Status of Artificial Intelligence in the Judicial Field Throughout the World:
The United States has started utilising AI for a number of purposes. AI-powered tools such as COMPAS (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Solutions) help judges assess the amount of risk involved with a particular case, by reading the criminal history of the accused. The US courts have developed their own chatbots to help them with legal research, where they can answer the common procedures, schedules, dates and other stuff, thus reducing the workload of the court staff.
China, however, is far ahead, as compared to other countries, as it started working on integrating the courts into AI in the 1990s. In China, judges use AI to help them with case analysis and even in decision-making. The smart Court system would analyse past decisions and would suggest sentences based on previous cases to the judges. Colombia presents an instance where a judge uses ChatGPT to deliver the judgments.
Indian Courts: Role of AI
Historically, the Indian legal system and its participants have been reluctant to use technology in their daily operations. However, this trend is likely to alter soon with the arrival of ground-breaking advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and a change in thinking. According to the Oxford Insights and International Development Research Centre’s index of government artificial intelligence readiness, India comes up at number 17. Recently, the Supreme Court has taken a lot of initiatives to digitalise our Indian Courts. The apex court received assistance in creating this tool from a Bengaluru-based business called Technology Enabled Resolutions (TERES), which had previously offered AI-enabled transcribing services to arbitration practitioners.
When the Supreme Court’s Artificial Intelligence Committee unveiled the Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Courts Efficiency (SUPACE) exactly one year ago, it was the court’s first interaction with AI. SUPACE was created, among other things, to provide the necessary digital infrastructure for the digitization of the legal system.
More recently, Justice Anoop Chitkara, Hon’ble judge at Punjab and Haryana High Court employed the AI tool to gain a more comprehensive understanding of bail law while deciding cases where an assault involves cruelty.
Concerns and Threats Posed by AI in Justice Delivery
Like nuclear fission, which can either ignite cities on fire or create them, artificial intelligence is a two-edged technology, according to James Barratt. The depth and breadth of the actual use of judicial artificial intelligence are still constrained. In terms of depth, judicial artificial intelligence is currently only capable of supporting a legal person’s decision-making in practice. As such, it can only serve as a judge’s assistant and cannot fully replace the judge. It might be better suited for handling technical and auxiliary labour if we talk of increasing work efficiency.
However, we need to keep in mind that efficiency is not the same as quality. A lot of jurists have shown the concern that the whole model of AI is to find a common link in all the applications filed in a court and then, without understanding it itself, it creates a sync in them and presents a suggestion along with reasoning that may look appealing enough to convince someone. For all this, it relies on the judicial data already entered into AI. However, practical experience has shown that there are numerous issues with both comprehensive and high-quality court data. While AI can alleviate the pressure of “litigation explosion” the quality of the judgments produced by it can never be guaranteed.
Second, rationally speaking, human program design and input are what artificial intelligence is bound by. Artificial intelligence will eventually fall short of achieving 100% intelligence due to the incompetence of its designers. Humans can come up with solutions to issues or find ways to compensate for shortcomings, but artificial intelligence is not as creative.
Thirdly, we need to understand that judicial activity has some uniqueness in it. It’s not based on data or facts every time. It involves the role of experience, the conscience of the judge, the conscience of the society, and the sense of right or wrong, in particular circumstances that may be very different in various instances. It requires an understanding of the psychology of the parties involved and the emotions that led to the wrongful act. Thus, AI can’t simply play a real role in judicial activity. There is still a difference between data-based experience and the experience required in a judicial judgment. Thus, the phrase, “not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done.”, would be realised only if it is delivered by the rational faculties of a human mind.
Artificial Intelligence can play a variety of roles in assisting the judicial staff in performing their various procedural formalities. It can also help in eliminating miscommunications in various legal departments, in maximising case handling efficiency reducing wrong cases and promoting justice. The challenge that the artificial intelligence era poses to the judicial profession does not imply that artificial intelligence’s revolutionary impact on judges can be disregarded. Judges should attempt to adapt to the changing demands of their duty as judges in the age of artificial intelligence and become more professional, logical, and compassionate judges while using artificial intelligence to aid in improving the fairness of judicial judgment.
This article is written and submitted by Renu during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Renu is a BA.LLB 3rd Year student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala.