AI and judicial reform
The European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on the use of artificial intelligence
By Christiana Pyrkotou and Aimilia Efstathiou
There has been a growing debate around the world in recent times regarding the development and use of new technologies in most professional fields, including the field of administration of justice. In particular, due to the unprecedented conditions posed by the pandemic, the increased use of technology has played a decisive role in the effective functioning of several professional sectors, and it seems that technology is now more of an integral part of it than ever.
In Cyprus, there was an in-depth discussion on the use of new technologies in the administration of justice and some steps have been taken in this direction. As part of the reform of the administration of justice, new rules of civil procedure have been proposed and should be implemented where the introduction of technological solutions is evident. These include the ability to file electronically, the sending of legal documents by email and the use of an electronic signature in some cases.
It is now clear that technology will play a key role in the administration of justice and the delivery of legal services. In this context, the discussion on the use of artificial intelligence has also increased. This is evident in the recent European Commission proposal for harmonized rules on artificial intelligence. The objectives of the European Commission in this regard have been stated as follows:
- ensure that the AI systems used within the union are safe and comply with the legislation in force on fundamental rights and union values;
- guarantee legal certainty to facilitate investment and innovation in AI;
- improve the governance and effective enforcement of existing legislation on fundamental rights and security requirements applicable to AI systems;
- facilitate the development of a single market for legal, secure and reliable AI applications and prevent market fragmentation.
According to the proposed regulation, “artificial intelligence system” is defined as a software medium that is developed with one or more of the techniques and approaches and can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, generate results such as content, predictions, recommendations or decisions influencing the environments with which they interact.
It is the position of the European Commission that rapidly changing technologies “can bring a wide range of economic and societal benefits across the spectrum of industries and social activities”, while “the use of artificial intelligence can support socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes and provide key competitive advantages ”. In this regard, the European Commission seeks to improve the forecasting of rules governing the use of artificial intelligence systems to eliminate risks or negative consequences for individuals and society, giving people the confidence to adopt the solutions of artificial intelligence and encourage companies to use it, taking a balanced approach. As he says: “it is in the Union’s interest to preserve the technological leadership of the EU and to ensure that Europeans can benefit from new technologies developed and operating in accordance with the values, rights and fundamental principles of the Union.
The proposed regulation follows a risk-based approach, distinguishing between uses of AI that create (i) unacceptable risk, (ii) high risk, and (iii) low or minimal risk. According to paragraph 40 of the preamble, “certain AI systems intended for the administration of justice and democratic processes should be classified as high risk, given their potentially significant impact on democracy, the rule of law, individual freedoms as well as the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial. In particular, to deal with the risks of potential bias, errors and opacity, it is appropriate to qualify as high-risk AI systems intended to assist judicial authorities in the research and interpretation of facts and of the law. and in the application of the law to a concrete set of facts. Such a qualification should not, however, extend to AI systems intended for purely ancillary administrative activities which do not affect the effective administration of justice in individual cases, such as the anonymization or pseudonymization of judicial decisions. , documents or data, communication between staff, administrative tasks or resource allocation. “
Among the AI systems which, according to the proposed regulation, are to be considered high-risk AI systems are those relating to the area of the administration of justice and democratic processes which is determined as follows: ‘IA intended to assist a judicial authority in finding and interpreting facts and the law and in applying the law to a concrete set of facts.
According to the proposed regulation, these high-risk AI systems must go through stringent requirements before they can be placed on the market, including:
- the implementation of adequate risk management systems as well as mitigation systems;
- feed systems with high quality information and data sets;
- train and perform tests while having full access to all necessary information about the systems and their purpose;
- data and data governance;
- detailed technical documentation and record keeping to ensure the traceability of results;
- transparency and the provision of adequate information to the user;
- human monitoring and evaluation;
- precision, robustness and cybersecurity.
In light of the above, it is really interesting to see how new technologies will facilitate and improve the administration of justice both at national level and across the EU, always keeping in mind the basic human rights of those involved and affected. by the use of these technologies as well as the disparity between the technological systems in place along the European countries.
Christiana Pyrkotou is associate / senior lawyer and Aimilia Efstathiou is associate / lawyer at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
 Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL ESTABLISHING HARMONIZED RULES ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (ACT ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) AND AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF THE UNION, 2021/0106 (COD21), Brussels, 21.4.2021.
 Annex III to the proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL LAYING OUT HARMONIZED RULES ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (ACT ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) AND AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF THE UNION, 2021/0106 (COD), Brussels, 21.4.2021.