Philippine judiciary

[Point of Law] Artificial intelligence for our court system

Francis Lim

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Point of Law] Artificial intelligence for our court system

Raffy de Guzman

The adoption of AI in judicial processes is a bold and necessary step

In a recent speech, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo announced that the Supreme Court is “looking to use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve operations in the judiciary as part of its drive to unclog court dockets and expedite decisions.” This announcement marks a significant initiative for the Philippine justice system, long plagued by delays and inefficiencies.

The adoption of AI in judicial processes is a bold and necessary step. Despite recent improvements, a nationwide survey by the Justice Reform Initiative (JRI) indicated that case backlogs remain a severe issue. On average, it takes at least five years from the filing of a case before a favorable court decision is implemented. This prolonged timeline discourages many, especially the less fortunate members of society, from seeking legal recourse, undermining the overall confidence in the judicial system. For this  reason, 96% of the respondents in the JRI survey said that the Supreme Court must adopt technology to address critical pain points and enhance the efficiency of our courts.

AI’s potential to transform judicial efficiency is immense. For a start, AI can be utilized for routine tasks such as recording court proceedings and generating transcripts. This technology can accurately and swiftly produce stenographic notes, reducing delays caused by manual transcription and allowing judges and court staff  to focus on more substantive aspects of their cases.

Beyond transcription, AI can be integrated into other facets of court proceedings. AI-driven predictive models can help prioritize cases based on complexity, urgency, and other factors, allowing courts to allocate resources effectively. AI is even used in Estonia to resolve small claims disputes, providing quick and fair decisions.  In the United States, eDiscovery uses machine learning AI, which learns through training what the best algorithm is that is capable of extracting the relevant parts from a large amount of information.  Natural language processing (NLP) models can summarize complex legal texts including from earlier decisions relevant to the case. These applications free up human resources for more complex cases, thus enhancing the overall efficiency of the judicial process.

However, the adoption of AI into the judiciary must be approached with caution. AI systems are not infallible and can generate disinformation or perpetuate biases if not properly managed. In New York, for example, a lawyer was subjected to disciplinary proceedings for citing non-existent court decisions generated by AI in a personal injury case against Avianca Airlines. A Colorado lawyer also got suspended from the practice of law for citing non-existent cases in support of his client’s case.  In 2016, the ProPublica investigation revealed that COMPAS, an AI tool used in the US for risk assessment in criminal sentencing, was biased against African American defendants. Such examples underscore the need for stringent oversight and transparency in deploying AI in judicial settings.

To mitigate these risks, it is imperative that the Philippine judiciary implements robust safeguards. This includes ensuring that AI algorithms are transparent and regularly audited, and that the judge and court staff review and validate AI-generated information and recommendations. Training them on the limitations and ethical use of AI is also essential to prevent over-reliance on technology. Careful implementation and vigilant oversight are crucial to ensuring that AI enhances, rather than undermines, the quest for timely and fair justice.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s initiative to harness AI for judicial operations represents a forward-thinking approach to tackling longstanding inefficiencies within the Philippine justice system. In this day and age of technological advancements, leveraging AI holds huge promise for redefining the justice delivery experience. By embracing these innovations, we can create a judicial system that is not only efficient but also just, accessible, and responsive to the needs of our society, consistent with the Supreme Court’s 5-year strategic agenda for our judicial system.  Let us envision a future where justice is not delayed but delivered swiftly, where faith in the system is unwavering, and where AI becomes an indispensable ally in our pursuit of a more equitable society. –

Francis Lim is the incumbent chairman of the Justice Reform Initiatives, Inc. He may be contacted through

1 comment

Sort by
  1. ET

    I appreciate Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo’s AI initiative and writer Francis Lim’s ability to make the matter understandable to the layman. May the people be regularly updated about this initiative. We also need details like budget, timelines, and accomplishment reports.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!