Blass on Observing the Effects of Automating the Judicial System with Behavioral Equivalence

Joseph Blass (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University – Dept. Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) has posted “Observing the Effects of Automating the Judicial System with Behavioral Equivalence” (South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 4, 2022) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Building on decades of work in Artificial Intelligence, legal scholars have begun to consider whether components of the judicial system could be replaced by computers. Much of the scholarship in AI and Law has focused on whether such automated systems could reproduce the reasoning and outcomes produced by the current system. This scholarly framing captures many aspects of judicial processes, but overlooks how automated judicial decision-making likely would change how participants in the legal system interact with it, and how societal interests outside that system who care about its processes would be affected by those changes.

This Article demonstrates how scholarship on legal automation comes to leave out perspectives external to the process of judicial decision-making. It analyses the problem using behavioral equivalence, a Computer Science concept that assesses systems’ behaviors according to the observations of specific monitors of those systems. It introduces a framework to examine the various observers of the judicial process and the tradeoffs they may perceive when legal systems are automated. This framework will help scholars and policymakers more effectively anticipate the consequences of automating components of the legal system.