AI, human rights and the law

This multiyear programme looks at how to embrace AI’s benefits in the justice system while ensuring its use improves access to justice, advances human rights, and strengthens the rule of law.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to fundamentally change society, from how we access information to how businesses, state agents, and others make important decisions about us.

The justice system is no exception. Police already use AI to boost their surveillance capacity and inform their decisions. Lawyers use AI to advise clients on legal risks and people ask AI tools for legal advice. Some judges abroad already use AI to calculate risk of reoffending, while in the UK judges have already started using AI to write their judgments.

The potential benefits are huge: exponential boosts to efficiency and the availability of legal advice, along with more consistent decision making, among other things.

But the risks are huge too. Overuse of AI by judges could risk eroding judicial independence and legitimacy. AI tools giving bad legal advice could scar lives and worsen the divide between those who can afford a lawyer and those who cannot.

Finally, the police and other state use of big data and AI risks entrenching biases which already exist in society, worsening inequalities – along the lines of race, for example, hurting communities already badly underserved by our justice system and corroding public trust.

The key challenge:

How can we embrace AI’s benefits in the justice system while protecting society from its risks? The justice system holds peoples’ lives in its hands and serves as a custodian of our democracy – we must get this right.  

Please direct queries to Ellen Lefley, Senior Lawyer