The article is written by Harmanpreet Kaur from Amity University, Kolkata. The article throws light on the importance of artificial intelligence in the Indian legal system and an overview of the stand of the judiciary on the same.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was formally initiated in 1956, and has gained and is gaining huge admiration and acceptance in the 21st century in the fields of education, employment, health, infrastructure, and transportation, etc. Not only is artificial intelligence rapidly advancing, increasing its pace and influence in technology, but the capabilities of artificial intelligence allow us to learn from experience and to perform autonomously from humans, which makes it the most transformative technology in the 21st century.
After more than 60 years of rapid development by new theories and technologies such as mobile internet, big data, supercomputing, sensor networks, and as well as strong demands for economic and social development. The development of Artificial Intelligence entered a new stage of development when it got recognition in deep learning, cross-border fusion, human-machine collaboration crowd, and autonomous intelligence. As it happened in the case of the Internet, artificial intelligence is gradually becoming an indispensable part of human social life, profoundly changing the life of humans and the whole world. It is accelerating the changes from digitalization and networking to intellectualization in all the fields of economy and society.
So the question arises as to whether artificial intelligence is leading to modernization in the legal field? Or can the adaptation of Artificial intelligence in the legal system influence the decisions of the judges, adversely affecting the judicial interpretations?
The article will deal with how artificial intelligence helped in streamlining the Indian legal system and the stand of the judiciary on its adoption in the system.
Interpreting the meaning of artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence was defined as the segment of science fiction, which involved unidentified flying objects, extraterrestrials, etc. The advancement in the fields of modern technology brought into light an innovative definition of Artificial Intelligence. It is fundamentally defined as the theory and development of computer systems that are able to perform tasks requiring human intelligence and intellect, i.e., visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, and translation between laws. According to the 2017 article published by The Law Society, Artificial Intelligence includes machine learning, where algorithms are used to detect patterns in data and apply those newly formed patterns to perform certain tasks.
According to the definition of Niti Ayog, Artificial Intelligence refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving, and decision making.
Many artificial intelligence applications are also used in the legal sphere. These applications include data input, legal research, legal analysis, and contract review. These practices help the legal machinery and lawyers to perform specific tasks on a day-to-day basis, without holding them on a pause. This also helps the lawyers to rationalize and modernize their burdensome and tedious work thereby increasing their efficiency.
The importance of adoption of AI in the Indian legal system
Artificial Intelligence is being adopted in the Indian legal system to make the work easier for have lawyers and legal professionals. Litigators in the legal profession have been using the applications of Artificial Intelligence for almost ten years, in their discovery process and also for speedy solutions to cases. There are more than thirty applications that have been used in the legal field, but the Indian legal system has adopted some of them in their arena, which has helped in shaping the legal industry, promoting ways of modernization.
Prediction technology is referred to as the form of technology in which the presence of AI software predicts the outcome of litigations. This technology analyzes the past legal reference and helps to provide insights into the future outcomes, because of the advances in machine learning. It helps the legal analysts and the lawyers to speculate the holdings of a judge for a case in dispute. The lawyers can predict the court rulings and thereby decide to proceed with the case to the court of higher jurisdiction.
In the current dreadful circumstances of COVID-19, where people have been suffering for a year now, the legal domain has taken various steps for the law students to keep them connected with the law, by organizing various online legal forums that mostly deal with legal research. The necessary fundamentals and core skills of a successful lawyer and professionals is to conduct legal research, which includes analyzing the case laws and commentaries. It is a process in which the lawyer identifies the relevant laws (cases, statutes, laws, and rules) and then applies the particulars to a case, in order to make legal research easier. A new kind of technology has been introduced in the legal toolkits named legal analytics. It is a software technology that involves advanced technology such as machine learning and natural language processing to analyze key data points from case commentaries and documents. It does not replace legal research or lawyers, but it can be stated that they are supplementary to each other. It provides assistance to the lawyers to answer the critical questions within minutes and help in-house counsel while making vital business decisions. Some of the applications related to legal analytics that are used by professionals include LexisNexis, Ross Intelligence, and case-mine.
The artificial intelligence applications category of due diligence include legal research, electronic billing, and contract review. With the help of this application, the lawyer performs on behalf of the clients i.e., reviewing the facts of the client’s case and performing legal research to analyze the legal issue and then giving the appropriate advice to them. The process is beneficial in mergers and acquisitions as it leads to faster and cheaper transactions with better risk management. Reflexive random indexing deploys an efficient solution for the challenge of collecting, classifying, organizing, prioritizing, and highlighting the corporate documents in the issue integrated with human input on risk management. It also marks the success of this model by making it more interactive, continually accommodative which is because the agreements are continuously revised during negotiations.
The drafting of new agreements, contracts, and other legal documents require constant care and great caution. So efforts were made in introducing errors which required a great amount of time. So with the passage of time, new incentives and alternatives were introduced in corporate legal departments to cut costs and this is also being used by the law firms to increase efficiency and offer innovative legal services. It is a type of software that automates a document based upon data or interests that it collects from a questionnaire and the user is asked to answer those questions. Accordingly, appropriate dates and templates are automatically inserted into a legal document.
With the introduction of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) there has always been a necessity to protect and secure trademarks, copyrights, and patents. So protecting these IPRs requires time and the process can be long and arduous. The system of intellectual property has always encouraged new technologies and works for creation and invention. With the advancement in the field of artificial intelligence and the ability of AI to make autonomous decisions, the creative input of programmers has been reduced. AI programs create content such as news, articles, novels, art, music which require minimal human intervention. There have been various softwares used by the companies so that the IP-related matters can be handled accurately and efficiently and which as a result will also help the clients.
Electronic Billing can be used as an alternative to paper-based invoices, which takes a great amount of time to generate. The goal of electronic billing is to reduce disputes about online items, to hold accurate client adjustments, precise reporting and tracking, and also to reduce paper costs. Implementing efficiency and accuracy in a legal billing tool is vital for lawyers and law firms. Thus, these applications have provided the lawyers and the law firms to predict outcomes of the case, get documents ready within a fraction of seconds which saves time.
Justice DY Chandrachud and his observations
Artificial Intelligence has gained widespread acceptance in the fields of health, infrastructure, commerce, business, and agriculture. At the same time, it has also benefited the Indian legal system. Justice Chandrachud has reviewed the importance of Artificial Intelligence in one of his interviews with Deakin University by stating that:
“The idea of Artificial Intelligence is not to supplant the human brain or the human mind or the presence of judges but to provide a facilitative tool to judges to reassess the processes which they follow, to reassess the work which they do and to ensure that their outcome is more predictable and consistent and ultimately provide wider access to justice to the common citizens”.
In one of the virtual inaugural sessions of the introduction of e-projects in the Kerala High Court, he had stated that there should be a few of the introductions in the mechanism of law and order. They were:
- There should be an introduction of virtual courts in the Indian legal system, for the benefit of the citizens stating it to be ‘citizen centric’ and also to make them believe that the courts and judges value their time, thus ensuring proper law and order. The adaptation of the virtual courts in the Indian judiciary would promote compliance to the rule of law and would also ensure that the metropolitan cities don’t become accidental capitals of the world.
- There should be an application of Artificial Intelligence used, to translate the contents of the First Information Reports (FIR).
- The technology of artificial intelligence should be used in order to convert the judgments into regional languages, in order to make the language of the court available at the doorstep of the litigants.
- In order to resolve disputes, there should be an introduction of online mediation and negotiation services to bring peace and justice to the parties.
- There should be an introduction of e-projects in the form of e-modules for bail applications, land, and motor acquisition, and accident appeals, so that the certified copies can be received online and e-filing of the petitions can be made possible by the district and the courts of higher jurisdiction.
The hon’ble’ judge thus stated that the introduction of Artificial Intelligence would change the mindset and the perception of judges and will give them an insight into the importance of artificial intelligence.
Can AI replace judges to deliver judgment – the future of the legal system in India
The applications of artificial intelligence are being introduced in the Indian legal system for the better functioning of the machinery. Now the question arises as to whether the use of artificial intelligence can replace judges in court proceedings. The answer is no, it cannot.
Artificial intelligence has been used by eminent lawyers and professionals in the courtrooms to make their tasks easy. Though it has benefited the working of legal mechanisms, the excessive use of it can lead to disadvantages as well, because the people will be dependent on the technology, and this will be of no use to the human intellect. Stephen Hawking in the year 2014 has stated in one of his interviews that, “The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have proved very useful. But I fear the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.”
Countries like the USA, UK, Japan, Germany, and China have introduced artificial intelligence in their respective legal regimes, and the reports state that its use has been beneficial to the countries. Artificial intelligence has still not been used in the Indian legal system, but the judges and legal professionals have been making adequate efforts to introduce AI in the Indian Legal system like the introduction of the concepts of e-courts.
The introduction of artificial intelligence in the Indian legal system will make the system advanced and will lead to administrative efficiency. It can thus be comprehended that though AI has been introduced in the various developed countries and it is also being introduced in India but this does not necessarily mean that is a good idea to adopt it in legal functioning. The applications of artificial intelligence in the legal domain can give the judges extraordinary resources and help them in various ways, but this application cannot obviously replace judges. The judges decide the case in accordance with the facts and circumstances and also apply their own legal experience.
The artificial intelligence predictions and algorithms are not always perfect as they also need to be coded first and use the precedents given by humans to predict a case judgment. The existing legal systems have been made with great care and due diligence, and the judges and the professionals make the necessary amendments in the provisions as society evolves. It is not that the machine cannot be trained to understand or updated with time, but the judges have an experience that helps them to deliver a judgment in a concise manner ‘in the spirit of the law’.
Thus, it can be stated very abruptly that humans though being imperfect and logically inconsistent, are the real adjudicators of justice.
CJI Bobde and his views
The Supreme Court has been making all the decisions and has been implementing judgments virtually since March 2020, which has become the only way for access to justice in the courts of India. CJI Bobde was the one who introduced the application of Artificial Intelligence in the Supreme Court to increase efficiency in the courts:
- The Supreme Court’s Artificial Intelligence committee has been working on introducing artificial intelligence in the courts for the last two years. Under the able leadership of the Chief Justice of India, S.A.Bode, the committee launched a neural translation tool known as the Supreme court’s portal for Assistance in court’s efficiency (SUPACE) in November 2019 which will identify the objective facts and the place for occurrence of the events, and can also precisely accord questions and answers that are relevant to the case, and will thereby allow the user to perform all the relevant tasks that are normally done with any programming software.
- The other tool that was introduced by the committee is Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software (SUVAS), which will help in the translation of the court to the vernacular language.
CJI S.A.Bobde elucidated his conception for the use of Artificial intelligence by stating that, “For instance, if a judge needs to know whether the blood group of the accused matches the blood group of the victim. He can undoubtedly find this out for himself by turning the pages of the paper book which will take some amount of time. The AI could get this information instantly in a matter of seconds and in addition, could simultaneously display the arguments made about any of the courts and the findings of each court. It can also prompt for relevant data that a judge may have forgotten to ask, or a fact that a lawyer has forgotten to mention for his case which would otherwise be asked. Much like a pilot of an airplane conducting a routine check and ticking off things before take off i.e. prompt all relevant data so that the information available is sufficient for drawing the correct interference. Much depends on the frequency with which AI is used and to use the technical term- how it is trained. There is no question of AI creating any redundancy in posts at any level. For instance, the all too important and regular task of making entries in the register with many many columns can be done by the AI with astonishing speed and accuracy which might not be possible for a human being. And with a degree of consistency without any errors. The only consequence which one can see today is that AI would cut down on the overwork and overtime which officers in the registry are subjected to.”
AI- a rising concern or a need that has already been fulfilled
Judicial development has its own strong demands for modernization and modern technology. Judicial reform and informatization are two indispensable factors to the country’s judicial cause. The applications of judicial practice are conducive to the importance of judicial capacity and the realization of justice in an efficient way.
The applications of artificial intelligence in the judicial practice in India is the need time. At present we live in an era of artificial intelligence, and it is necessary to necessitate people’s demands for judicial impartiality through artificial intelligence and other modern technologies. With the integration of science and technology, judicial impartiality will be better guaranteed so that it can better serve economic and social development.
The application of technology to judicial practice is conducive to the importance of judicial capacity and realization of justice in an efficient way. It can consequently be stated that technology is the key to solving judicial difficulties i.e:
Easy disposal of cases
There has been an increase in the number of pending cases in the courts, which has increased the burden on the judges; and if artificial intelligence is introduced in the Indian judicial system, it will help in the speedy disposal of the cases and will provide justice to the parties.
Science and technology are adequate tools to guarantee justice
Currently, there are cases in which the individuals are unjustly, falsely or wrongly charged and even sentenced which reflects injustice, and also questions and affects the judicial credibility and authority. In order to prevent these cases, an artificial intelligence assistive system should be created, which will help in checking the evidence, examining, and verifying the evidence and the contradiction between the evidence could be discovered in no time, and will effectively avoid the occurrence of these kinds of cases and the innocent people can be saved from the wrath of the judicial system. China is the country that has adopted an AI assistive system.
Introduction of chatbots in the judicial mechanism
The concept of introducing chatbots in the judicial system can be adopted from the United States. According to the report of June 6, 2017, judges of the supreme court of California proposed the concept of chatbots to be widely used in the courts to assist judges and promote court building. They can be used to promote judicial openness and improve services. They could easily take the simple daily work of the courts and it could serve the public well. It would improve the efficiency of the court work and save judicial resources. India being a developing country will require time to adapt chatbots into their system, but the country will surely adopt this system of technology in the coming times.
Introduction of online courts
The British Association of law has put forward the concept of the introduction of e-courts in their government. The courts will focus on dispute resolution, dispute control, and prevention to realize the combination of EDR and ADR, and also would not burden the courts with the pending case laws. India has recently introduced the concept of e-courts in its systems.
The application of artificial intelligence in the Indian legal sector is relatively recent and is being implemented in the legal domain by lawyers, law professionals to perform their work and manage their organizations adequately.
Artificial Intelligence, if adopted will give positive effects in decision-making, computational intelligence, and easier disposal of cases, assisting in document processing, and will provide assistance in the handling of cases and to judicial services. Even if there are several positive impacts of Artificial intelligence in the judicial perspective, the excessive use of it can lead to peculiarities, and so it should adhere to ethical principles. The Indian judicial system is however new at adopting Artificial intelligence, so after the complete understanding of the models in the developed countries, should introduce new forms of technologies.
- An introductory guide to Artificial Intelligence for Legal Professionals, Juan Pavon. (e-book)
- Artificial Intelligence- Introduction, Margaret A.Boden.(e-book)
- Artificial Intelligence and Judicial Modernization – Yadong Cui. (e-book)
- Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession – Brandy Jo Lea.
- Artificial Intelligence & Policy in India, Volume-I(2020) – Abhivardhan & Baldeep Singh Gill.
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