On 24 May 2018 an expert roundtable took place at the Erasmus University Rotterdam entitled ‘The use of artificial intelligence in legal decision-making’. This Roundtable was organized by Dr. Erlis Themeli, Dr. Stefan Philipsen, and Prof. Evert Stamhuis with the support of the Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity. The experts attending the event came from the legal practice, government, academia, and ICT sector.
The aim of the roundtable was to map the developments in and research on the use of AI in legal decision-making, and to outline a research agenda for the near future. Prof. Stefano Puntoni (Rotterdam School of Management) and Prof. Xandra Kramer were invited to provide some ‘food for thought’ for the participants and to contribute to the discussion.
AI is one the frontiers of the digitalization of justice. It has the potential to increase access to justice and to improve the position of vulnerable parties. However, AI remains complex and its use in the application of justice carries the risk of creating a ‘black-box’ without transparency or accountability. As was pointed out in the Roundtable, the use of AI in legal decision-making creates legal, economic, as well as ethical dilemmas. What would happen if the judge is a machine? Is there a right to a human judge? What is the added value of a human judge? Is it possible to fully comprehend the decisions of a machine? These questions form the outline of a future research agenda into the use of AI in legal decision-making.
Considering the success of the event, the organizers plan to develop a theoretical framework and to design an empirical research on the reception of automated decision-making by court users.