Artificial Intelligence is already being used in some courtrooms, but is it suitable for more complex cases?


In a judgement that may surprise some people, the Federal Court of Australia this year ruled that an ‘inventor can be non-human’. That means that an artificial intelligence (AI) system can own a patent. Unlike the United Kingdom and the United States, Australia seems pro-AI. So, does this also mean that AI could one day play a role in Australian courtrooms? 

Estonia has already established an AI judge to streamline government services and clear a backlog of cases. Estonia now uses an AI judge to adjudicate small-claim disputes such as contract claims under €7,000. 

In Canada, AI is used in strata property disputes, and motor vehicle claims are below a certain amount. 

Applying an AI system to process small claims works because it does not involve an exercise of discretion, but legal experts have concerns with AI impinging on the fundamental requirements of justice, such as openness, procedural fairness, and impartiality. Small claim matters are one thing, but the need for human judges currently remains for more complex cases. Judges also remain subject to a wide range of accountability mechanisms, which AI lacks. Furthermore, AI may not have the emotional intelligence to determine what is reasonable and misleading.




Oct 2021 Daily Mail Robots that analyse body language to determine guilt 'with 99% accuracy' will replace human judges in 50 years, expert claims

Mar 2021 Lexology Digital Justice - Can artificial intelligence replace a judge?

Aug 2021 BBC Would you let a robot lawyer defend you?