On the organizational level, the governance and scientific leadership of the ACT project are structured in a manner that continuously brings together the different contributors of the project – researchers, partners, students – through 3 working groups and 16 scientific research projects.
Working Group 1 - Conflict Prevention
PRE-CONFLICT DECISION TOOLS: ORIENTING LITIGANTS AND DEFENDANTS
The aim is to develop tools to assist in decision-making prior to conflict. This includes any steps to settle the dispute prior to it being taken to court. This field includes instruments freely accessible to all citizens to enable them to be aware of the extent of their rights.
PRE-CONFLICT DECISION TOOLS FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS
The objective of this project is to analyze the contribution of algorithmic tools capable of predicting the probable outcome of a trial. It is important to understand how these models function in order to be able to substantiate their reliability and to be capable to make them a useful working tool for practitioners.
DECISION SUPPORT TOOLS FOR TAX, ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES AND POLICE
The specificity of prosecuting authorities is linked to the public interest at stake in their decision to take legal action. It is important for them to analyse more comprehensively all the data relating to their scope of intervention in order to target the most effective and dissuasive measures.
The development of technologies for contracts involving the substitution of the third party by computer technology is making significant progress, requiring changes to be made in state legislation. The future of contractual obligations involves an analysis by the legal community in order to facilitate their legal implementation.
Working Group 2 Conflict Resolution
Since the fall of 2016, the Online Dispute Resolution Support Platform developed by the Cyberjustice Laboratory (PARLe) has been providing consumers and merchants in Quebec with a fast and free service to resolve disputes between them.
Important lessons should be learned from this experience in order to understand the key factors of the rate of out-of-court settlement of disputes and to analyse the data from the perspective of the consumer, the merchant, the mediator, the Laboratory’s registry and the Consumer Protection Office (OPC).
The Condominium Authority Tribunal launched an online dispute resolution platform for condominium disputes in November 2017. A Canadian first, this 100% virtual forum provides negotiation, mediation and adjudication services without any physical courtroom. It will be important to take stock of this experience, the objective of which is to reduce the costs of justice and increase its accessibility to the greatest number of people.
The implementation of technological tools in the context of the conduct of hearings (e. g. video appearance) modifies the modes of interaction between judicial actors. Therefore, the progress being made should be examined to analyse the social, cultural and psychological effects of these transformations in order to determine whether they improve or worsen the sense of procedural fairness.
The phenomenon of self-representation of citizens produces a risk of overloading the courts of cases that are inadmissible, have low stakes or have low chances of success. In order to overcome these difficulties, many tools are being developed in the field of citizens' self-representation and must therefore be evaluated in terms of their effectiveness, relevance and satisfaction rates of the target audience.
Several abstract models have been designed to support the development of decision-making instruments. Both their experimental implementation and their practical evaluation are hindered by the reluctance on the part of those who render legal decisions. Transparency and pedagogyefforts are necessary to ensure the relevance and reliability of these tools, which implies examining already existing decision-support techniques.
Working Group 3 Governance and Policy
The progress in cyberjustice is rooted in local initiatives that are proving successful where they are initiated. It is important to participate in this effort to disseminate good practices by identifying projects and perspectives that are progressively advancing cyberjustice in Canada, the United States and Australia.
The development of technologies in the field of justice creates the risk of neglecting the vulnerability of certain individuals, a notion closely linked to human empathy. It is therefore necessary to identify the tensions generated by these technologies among vulnerable populations. Initiatives aimed at integrating ethics with artificial intelligence could make it possible to better develop these technologies in their cultural dimension.
Measuring the progress of cyberjustice requires the development of reliable quality and performance indicators that are endorsed by the scientific community. Given the importance of convincing judicial actors of the benefits of cyberjustice, the methods for evaluating technologies are important, including from the perspective of their international implementation in different legal systems, such as in continental Europe and common law countries.
The use of algorithms for justice implies the collection of data that enhances the potential of these technologies without it being possible to predict with certainty the type of advancement that will be available tomorrow. Ethics is fundamental to this mechanism, insofar as the progress of these technologies must be carried out with respect for fundamental human rights, which requires the incorporation of benchmarks to ensure that these technologies are transparent and comply with the criteria of a democratic society.
Data collected in the judicial field are sensitive and often need to be anonymized. Access to this data must be subject to regulatory mechanisms that clarify what must be deleted, what can be used and exchanged, under what conditions and for what purposes.
SECURITY ISSUES STEMMING FROM AI TOOLS
Hacking tends to become an increasingly worrying threat as computer technology develops. The protection of the digital environment is therefore an essential condition for its development, which requires the creation of guaranteed cybersecurity conditions for judicial actors.
There are problems common to all the difficulties associated with cyberjustice. Feedback from each stakeholder should be construed as useful information for all. A general and methodical approach must therefore be conceptualized in order to measure the level of transformation already achieved, as well as what remains to be achieved for judicial actors.
This content has been updated on 3 September 2020 at 14 h 57 min.