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 decision-making prior to conflict. This includes any settlement of the dispute prior to it being taken to court. This field includes instruments freely accessible to all citizens to enable them to determine 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 work in order to justify their reliability and to be able 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 all the data relating to their scope of intervention in a more global way in order to target the most effective and dissuasive behaviourhts.
The development of technological contracts involving the substitution of the third party by computer technology is making significant progress, requiring changes in state legislation. The future of contractual obligations involves an analysis by the legal community to facilitate their proper 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 their disputes. Important lessons need to be learned from this experience in order to understand the factors determining the rate of out-of-court settlements of disputes and to analyse the data from the perspective of the consumer, the merchant, the mediator, the Laboratory 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 necessary to take stock of this experience, the aim of which is to reduce the costs of justice and increase its accessibility to as many people as possible.
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. It is therefore necessary to examine the progress being made in this area and 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 creates a risk of congestion in the courts for cases that are inadmissible, have low stakes, or are unlikely to succeed. 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.
The development of decision-making tools is the subject of several abstract models. Both their experimental implementation and their practical evaluation run up against the reluctance of those who are competent to make legal decisions. Transparency and pedagogical efforts are needed to ensure the interest and reliability of these tools, which involves examining already existing decision-support techniques.
Working Group 3 Governance and Policy
Advances in cyberjustice depend on local initiatives that are proven to be successful where they are initiated. It is important to participate in this effort to disseminate good practices by identifying projects and perspectives that are taking cyberjustice one step further in Canada, the United States and Australia.
The development of judicial technologies creates the risk of neglecting the vulnerabilities of certain individuals, a notion closely linked to human empathy. It is therefore necessary to identify the tensions generated by these tools among vulnerable populations. Initiatives aimed at integrating ethics with artificial intelligence could make it possible to better develop these tools in their cultural dimension.
Measuring the progress of cyberjustice requires reliable quality and performance indicators that are supported by the scientific community. Given the importance of convincing judicial actors of the benefits of cyberjustice, methods of evaluating tools are important, including from the perspective of 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 enriches the potential of these tools with no predictable certainty as to the type of advancement available tomorrow. Ethics is fundamental to this mechanism, since advances in these technologies must respect fundamental human rights, which requires the incorporation of benchmarks to ensure that these tools are transparent and comply with the criteria of a democratic society.
Data collected in the judicial field is sensitive and often need to be anonymized. Access to this data must be subject to regulatory mechanisms that clarify what is to 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 essential for its development, which requires the creation of 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 25 June 2020 at 15 h 11 min.