Judging by Numbers: How Will Judicial Analytics Impact the Justice System and Its Stakeholders?

In 2019, the French government passed an unprecedented law that banned the public from analyzing information in reported court decisions to draw insights about the judicial behaviour of individual judges.1 The penalty for breaking this law is steep: violators face up to five years in prison.2 The law has broad application, limiting the uses that academic researchers, legal technology companies, law firms and members of the general public can make of publicly available court information. The French ban follows previous legal provisions enacted in 2016 to make French case law more accessible to the public, as part of broader open data and digital governance reforms.3 The resulting increased availability of public data made it relatively easy to model how individual judges decide certain types of matters, potentially exposing them to comparison with their fellow judges and criticism or allegations of bias.4 For example, using a non-commercial analytics tool of his own creation, a French tax lawyer published a report concluding that, based on the publicly available data, “some judges had a very high asylum rejection ratio (close to 100%, with hundreds of cases per year) while others from the same court had a very low ratio.”5 The 2019 ban purports to “turn off the data spigot by banning the use of public information to ‘assess, analyze, compare or predict’ how judges make decisions.”6 Officially,

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 27 août 2020 à 9 h 16 min.