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AI has been playing a growing role in the legal industry in recent years, but this has primarily been in the background doing e-discovery type work that involves trawling through large numbers of past cases to find relevant precedents and other such research.
A team of researchers have recently developed a system that promises to offer more ‘front of house’ services however. The researchers, from UCL, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Sheffield, developed a system that could predict the decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with an accuracy of 79%.
The system is believed to be the first of its kind in the world, and arrived at it’s verdict simply by absorbing the text in the case files.
“We don’t see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes. It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights,” the researchers say.
As the system delved inside the decision making processes of judges, it interestingly emerged that judgements are often based on non-legal facts as much as they are purely legal arguments. Of course, this isn’t suggesting the decisions are poor so much as they are based on reality rather than strict theory.