Tech will be part of the UK justice system by 2040, senior judge suggests

In a speech delivered online last week (15 pages / 251kb PDF) focusing on the future of dispute resolution, Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos said those who seek justice in 2040 will do so through an integrated online digital justice system comprised of pre-action dispute resolution portals resolving different types of disputes supported by a court-based online dispute resolution system, across civil, family and family courts.

While Vos said it was essential that a digital justice system effectively deal with vulnerable and digitally disadvantaged people, he said that shouldn’t stop him from embracing technological change.

Vos presented a vision of a system that uses AI to speed up the justice process, with minor decisions made by AI to satisfy a growing need for immediate problem solving.

Vos predicted the growth of dispute resolution through blockchain technology, which he said was “borderless.” Although the judge added that he expected the legal and justice systems to remain “largely parochial”, he also suggested that national digital justice systems would begin to be accessible to systems operating in other countries of the world. a decade here.

“There will be a much less obvious difference between a digital dispute resolution system operating in a civil law country and one operating in a common law country. Both will have programs subject to the governance of online rules committees that operate at a high enough level to ensure the justice of the process, but are not bound by the historic civil procedural processes of old-fashioned national court processes” , Your mentioned.

Vos said the digitization of the court system in England and Wales had been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and that progress towards an integrated system for civil, family and judicial matters was now “well advanced”. However, it required constant development to cope with future technological changes.

The judge also said more work needs to be done on assessing any disputes that may arise in the future. For example, he noted that the evidence landscape would be very different, with most transactions automatically recorded online or paid for using crypto-assets.

Vos concluded by warning that regulation must keep pace with technology to control cybercrime, and that risks must be properly controlled and limited – not used as an excuse to impede technological progress.

Legal technology expert David Halliwell of Pinsent Masons said the use of AI could increase the efficiency of courts, both in the UK and abroad.

“There is still great uncertainty about the appetite for AI to be involved in substantive decision-making in the administration of justice, but as advances in AI in other spheres such as medicine are becoming a more accepted part of our daily lives, the dial may evolve into greater acceptance,” he said.

“As Sir Geoffrey Vos points out, there is huge potential for technology to improve the efficiency, speed and breadth of legal proceedings – and as these are universal pain points, the potential for countries to work together to Developing common systems together is intriguing. This may be an opportunity for English law to consolidate its position as commercial law for its courts to take the lead in this valuable endeavour,” he said.