Wednesday 13 March 2013

Intelligent legal technology in Finnish courts by 2025?

In Finland, the select committee on judicial reform presented its report to the Minister of Justice today. (Press release in Finnish, Swedish.) The report, responding to the political pressure of making reducing judicial expenditures by 2025 while at the same time making trials more expedient (Finland has quite a track record from the ECHR in this respect), contains a fair share of controversially controversial recommendations and proposals, including the total elimination of lay judges and possibly even the two-track system of general and administrative courts throughout the system, but then there is also this:

In some types of cases the preparation processcould be more strongly computer-supported. For example, when the elements of certain crimes are met, the system could automatically offer relevant phrasings as motivations, which could ease up the burden of processing simple high-volume cases, such as drunk driving. This could reduce routine work while at the same time safeguarding the high quality of the decisions.

(Finnish original: Osassa asioita voidaan valmistelua tukea tietojärjestelmän avulla nykyistä voimakkaammin. Esimerkiksi tiettyjen tunnusmerkistöjen täyttyessä tietojärjestelmä voisi automaattisesti tarjota asiaan liittyviä fraasiperusteluja, mikä voisi keventää suuren volyymin yksinkertaisten juttujen, kuten rattijuopumukset, käsittelyä. Näin voitaisiin vähentää rutiiniluontoista työtä ja samalla kuitenkin varmistaa päätösten korkea laatu. (p. 18))

The general sad state of court ICT in Finland was also highlighted by the Minister in her reply and also raised earlier independently in a short interview with her in Hufvudstadsbladet a week or two ago. The Finnish intelligent legal technology lobby (ahem) is officially pleased.

(If this is your first encounter with the words “intelligent legal technology”, you may want to take a look at this article of mine from the latest IPRinfo magazine.)

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