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  • By Sarah A. McCormick

The Use of AI in Predicting Legal Outcomes


I am currently enrolled in a course titled "Artificial Intelligence and the Law," which has required me to create two short papers similar to that of a blog post. The prompt to the assignment was to write about something that has to do with AI and the law.

AI in Predicting Outcomes

Artificial intelligence has been gaining attention in various professional environments throughout the world and has demonstrated its applicable use in the legal and medical fields quite extensively. The use of artificial intelligence in the legal field is changing how lawyers think, operate, and deliver solutions to their clients. One particular application is the use of artificial intelligence to predict legal outcomes in court cases. Although this has yet to be adopted and tested in many places, one court in particular has tested artificial intelligence in human rights cases.

Artificial intelligence is taught using algorithms and data to come up with answers similar to the answers human would provide in a given situation. Artificial intelligence software can find patterns in highly complex decisions and, in this context, can weigh legal evidence and moral questions of right and wrong through the use of algorithms. As more information is fed into the system, the machine becomes smarter and delivers more accurate solutions. The European Court of Human Rights is one of the first examples to use this technology.

Real Life Application of Predicting Outcomes with Artificial Intelligence

Experts and researchers used artificial intelligence to predict the same verdicts as real judges in 79 percent of cases dealing with human rights. The researchers used an algorithm that studied language data sets for 584 casesrelated to Conventions on Human Rights, in particular Articles 3, 6, and 8. Article 3 deals with cases involving torture or degrading treatment, Article 6 deals with rights to a fair trial, and Article 8 deals with respect for private life. Researchers chose these topics because they dealt with fundamental rights and because there was a large amount of published data on them. The algorithm searched for patterns in the text and determined whether the text constituted a “violation” or “non-violation.” The team chose an equal amount of cases that were considered to be non-violation and violation to avoid bias and mislearning by the artificial intelligence. According to the researchers, artificial intelligence was able to predict the verdicts for an accuracy of 79%. This testing mechanism and use of artificial intelligence is still being enhanced and tested for further use. The next step will be to test the system with more data to ensure that the results are even more accurate. This application of artificial intelligence in the law is just one way in which artificial intelligence could be useful.

Other Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Field

The use of artificial intelligence has been used to predict outcomes in legal cases, but can also be used in other circumstances as well. For example, lawyers will be able to better predict the outcome of individual cases for individual clients through using artificial intelligence. The real life application discussed earlier could be scaled to individuals or a group of individuals to predict an outcome for a particular case. Artificial intelligence would learn the patterns in cases of a similar nature, which could then be used by the lawyers to better explain next steps and options for their clients. Lawyers are also using artificial intelligence to filter through law amounts of legal data to make better use of the data that they currently have. Artificial intelligence also supplies more data for use by judges and lawyers. These are only two of the benefits to be offered by artificial intelligence.

Skeptics of artificial intelligence in the law point towards decrease in jobs for lawyers and judges, however, that will not be the case. Artificial intelligence in the legal sector learns from actions taken by humans, such as judges and lawyers. Artificial intelligence is being tested and used to enhance the decisions made by judges and lawyers, and not to eliminate employment. As more artificial intelligence is used, the success rates of the machine will continue to rise and show immense benefits to the legal field. Regardless of what technology is used in the law, there will always be a necessity for human interaction that artificial intelligence will not be able to replace. Every time something new is introduced, there are always skeptics, but it will only be a matter of time before lawyers and judges embrace the use of this technology and use it to enhance the everyday lives of themselves and their clients.

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