Discussing the opportunities, challenges and risks associated with the integration of technological tools, especially artificial intelligence (AI) in the judiciary, was the aim of the third session of the J20. The meeting took place on Tuesday morning (14) and concluded the meeting of representatives of the Supreme Courts of the G20 countries, an international economic cooperation forum that brings together the world’s 19 largest economies, the European Union and the African Union.

The president of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Luís Robert Barroso, made an initial reflection on the digital transformation underway in all sectors of society and cited examples of the use of new technologies by the Brazilian judiciary. Digitizing cases, holding virtual hearings and using AI to filter cases were some of the good practices shared by the minister.

The representatives of the countries and institutions made their speeches mediated by the president of the STF. The majority agreed that the idea of integrating technological tools into judicial processes is vital for building more efficient and accurate processes and more transparent institutions.

However, concerns were raised about ethical, discriminatory and exclusionary issues that may be related to the possibility of automating decisions and other applications of AI in judicial processes.

Shared experiences

The president of the Supreme Court of India, Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, said that the country began integrating new technologies into the judicial system in 2007 and today has the largest electronic model in the world. “Technology must be harnessed to reduce pre-existing inequalities and improve judicial efficiency. I call for the creation of barriers to protect against potential AI risks, emphasizing the importance of defining these safeguards collectively as a global community,” he said.

Sylvie Coudray, director of UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Education, shared data from research carried out by the institution to better understand the demands of service providers within the judicial system. According to her, 90% of respondents stressed the need for legal training on the implications of AI systems on freedom of expression, privacy and in terms of human rights and ethics.

In South Korea, the use of artificial intelligence has significantly expanded access to the judiciary, said the Minister of the Constitutional Court of South Korea, Hyung du Kim. He also spoke of initiatives in Singapore where generative AI acts in minor cases and classifies decisions without human intervention. “If this continues to evolve, this AI will conduct trials automatically and could be the first example of its kind in the world.”

In South Africa, however, this reality is still a long way off, said the president of the Constitutional Court, Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo. “We started integrating information technology into the judiciary in the 1990s, but our systems are obsolete. Still, I have some experiences to share.”

Zondo said that there is currently a pilot project for electronic case management in the country. “This has worked very well and is growing to be used in other courts. By the end of this year, we hope to finalize this process. It’s an exercise that will take many years.”

The meeting concluded early Tuesday afternoon with a speech by Justice Luís Roberto Barroso. He reported on the main points discussed in the three J20 sessions and thanked all the participants for their contributions. “I think we have accomplished our mission of creating a platform for multilateral cooperation and helping each other to provide a better judicial service, after all, that is our goal,” he concluded.

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