INCREASING ACCESS TO JUSTICE & PROMOTING DIVERSITY THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN LAW
Artificial intelligence is currently being used on a large scale in technical industries like engineering and computer science. AI can also be used to streamline and optimize our legal system. Various software tools already exist that use artificial intelligence in numerous aspects of the legal profession, from legal research to legal drafting. However, the true potential of artificial intelligence in the legal sphere goes beyond this, as it can be employed to help the common man access the law and better understand its intricacies. This short article goes over how artificial intelligence is currently employed generally and in the legal sphere, and then discusses potential uses of artificial intelligence in our legal system that can solve the nuanced problems we face today.
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Artificial intelligence is currently being used on a large scale in technical industries like engineering and computer science.AI can also be used to streamline and optimize our legal system. Various software tools already exist that use artificial intelligence in numerous aspects of the legal profession, from legal research to legal drafting. However, the true potential of artificial intelligence in the legal sphere goes beyond this, as it can be employed to help the common man access the law and better understand its intricacies. This short article goes over how artificial intelligence is currently employed generally and in the legal sphere, and then discusses potential uses of artificial intelligence in our legal system that can solve the nuanced problems we face today.
Artificial Intelligence refers to the machine-simulated human intelligence that can be used to solve problems and make automated decisions for tasks that typically require human intelligence. Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied through two major routes2 – rule-based application and machine learning. While the former refers to the application of rules based on real world constraints being fed into a computer; the latter refers to a situation where the data fed into a computer is ‘learnt’ from, and applied by the computer to arrive at solutions. An example of the former could be physics simulations used in 3D modelling where the laws of physics are programmed into a software for city planning. An example of the latter could be the translation of languages on a platform like Google Translate, which ‘learns’ the vocabulary and grammar rules fed into it, and the results are seen whenever a sentence is to be translated. Hybrid systems, where rule-based application and machine learning are both used also exist, as seen in self-driving cars where traffic rules are pre-programmed, and machine learning is used to determine the fastest route to reach a destination.
In 1666, Gottfried Leibniz, a qualified mathematician and lawyer, argued for the use of rule- based evaluation in the legal sphere. His research showed that Mathematics and Law both consider certain premises to hold true. Based on these truths, larger systems of Mathematics are applied to real life issues, which can be seen in the machines that mankind has built over the years. Law uses precedents along with pre-determined principles, to regulate society, as seen in judicial decisions. Leibniz is thus regarded by many to be the Father of AI in Law.3
Today, artificial intelligence is used in many aspects of the legal system. At the administrative level, it is used by judges and litigators to determine the punishment for a convict4, which involves going through their digitally stored crime records. It is also used by the Police, in the form of facial recognition software, or through public surveillance systems. Artificial intelligence also has numerous other uses for legal practitioners. Lawyers often use AI to evaluate legal analytics and predict case outcomes. For example, Lex Machina is a service which uses data science to provide essential information to legal professionals5. AI finds applications for citizens at the grassroot level too. People can use software assistance to create legal documents like wills and codicils. Such technology helps the law to be simplified and become less intimidating for the common man6 who wishes only to comply with it.
However, we must harness the real potential of AI in order to increase access to, and thereby, increase diversity in the field of Law. It is a sad truth that as much as 70% 7 people in villages are unaware of their rights and freedoms. In an age where technology has brought the world to the people through social media, streaming services and even wireless calling, it is indeed unfortunate that legal awareness is still at such low levels. Yet, it is a common sight for a villager to be using a smartphone8, given the rapidly falling costs of such devices. It thus becomes important to use this as a medium to spread awareness about the law, the legal system of the country, as well as individual rights and freedoms.
In India, judicial processes are generally held in little to no positive merits, partly as a result of the associated delays and costs. A single hearing is known to take months, years and every so often, decades. In the case of Ashok Kumar Mittal vs. Ram Kumar Gupta, the Supreme Court observed, “A more realistic approach to litigation costs may be the need of the hour”9. Additionally, Justice Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court noted, “The legal system is geared in favor of the rich and powerful”10. Legal aid lawyers are overworked and underpaid, and incentives for lawyers to work pro bono are very low or even non-existent in financial compensation due to the burden of arduous, often mechanical tasks like legal research and documentation, the merits of which, for established lawyers, would be better compensated in a traditionally billed case.11
Artificial Intelligence deals with these issues by empowering people to access the law independently. This has implications on every level. AI can eliminate the intimidation that is felt while dealing with legal processes, especially for people from low-income groups. Engaging with a lawyer may add to costs and delays that could be significantly reduced using Artificial Intelligence. For example, LegalSifter AI is a software which uses machine learning to review legal documents, give advice based on the results, recommend relevant changes in the document and accordingly automate that process if the user consents to it12. What normally
takes days and even weeks, now could only take minutes for arguably more comprehensive results depending on the case of use.
A major obstacle faced by practitioners and administrators of the law is the lengthy process of legal research that reduces the time for direct communication between the practitioner and their client. This disincentivizes pro bono work because established lawyers would rather spend their time researching for a case in which they know they will be paid handsomely, compared to one in which there is no financial compensation at all, as mentioned previously. AI provides potential solutions for this as well. For instance, the ROSS Intelligence service accesses hundreds of legal databases to give lawyers the passages they may need in a case in mere seconds, saving huge amounts of time and allowing that time to instead be used in advising a client and strategizing for a case.13
In conclusion, artificial intelligence will increase accessibility to the legal system, promote diversity and legal awareness, while also encouraging smarter investments of time and money. As citizens of the Digital Age, we must recognize these merits of Artificial Intelligence and work with the concerned stakeholders to rally for its exigent implementation.
Review, March 2021, https://tinyurl.com/26jr4cex
1 Eeshaan, Student at Jindal Global Law School
2Stanford University, Artificial Intelligence in Law: An Overview & History, YouTube (April 9, 2019), https://youtu.be/BG6YR0xGMRA.
3 The Leibniz Center for Law, University of Amsterdam, www.leibnizcenter.org (last visited Feb. 7, 2022)
4 Rishabh Warrier, Analyzing The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Criminal Sentencing through the Loomis Decision, The Criminal Law Blog, Center for Criminal Law Studies, National Law University, Jodhpur. April 14, 2020, https://criminallawstudiesnluj.wordpress.com/2020/04/14/analysing-the-use-of-artificial-intelligence-in- criminal-sentencing-through-the-loomis-decision/
5 Josh Becker, 4 Ways that Law Firms Benefit from Legal Analytics, Lex Machina, LexisNexis, 2018, https://www.lexisnexis.com/pdf/legal-analytics/Legalanalyticwhitepaper.pdf
6Tilley, Bill, How Technology is Revolutionizing the Practice of Law, LinkedIn Blog, March 16, 2021,
7 Justice K Ramanna. Consumer Awareness Programme, State Consumer Welfare Fund under the Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
8 RajendraAneja, 4G Phone Revolution Is Flourishing in The Villages of Rural India but There’s Ample Scope for Exponential Growth, TECH2, FirstPost India, April 25, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/2p8euzzr
9 Ashok Kumar Mittal vs Ram Kumar Gupta & Another, 2009(74)AIC19
10Express News Service, Laws, legal system totally geared in favour of rich and powerful: Justice Deepak Gupta, Indian Express, May7 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-justice-deepak-gupta-virtual- farewell-6397441/
11Aarefa Johari, How well do India’s free legal aid services work? Not nearly well enough, The Scroll Law Review, May 19, 2018, https://scroll.in/article/877225/how-well-do-indias-free-legal-aid-services-work-not- nearly-well-enough
12 Levin Miller, Your Contract Lifecycle Management Software Implementation Is Likely to Fail,LegalSifter
13 Andrew Arruda, Leveraging Legal Technology & Legal Artificial Intelligence, ROSS Intelligence, https://www.iadclaw.org/assets/1/7/6.1-_IADC_Article_-_Artificial_Intelligence.pdf