Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Canadian Bar Association Magazine Article on Supreme Court Analytics

National, the magaize of the Canadian Bar Association, has published an article on Forecasting the Supreme Court’s work:

"Judicial analytics is what happens when modern information processing techniques like machine learning are applied to the work of courts, judges and lawyers. Companies offering judicial analytics services make some bold claims — that their products can help lawyers craft arguments with particular judges in mind, that they can track a judge’s 'ruling tendencies' or predict how long it will take for a case to conclude. One product offers to uncover the 'personal factors' that influence a particular judge’s decisions, including 'net worth, education, work experience [and] political affiliation'."

" 'Talking to lawyers, we don’t get the sense that it’s in widespread use in Canada,' said Amy Salyzyn, associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of law. 'We are seeing more interest in the technology, however, and more and more court data is getting digitized and the tech is getting better'."

"Are the makers of judicial analytics tools overselling what they can do? In a new paper, Salyzyn and her associate professor colleague, Jena McGill, argue that while the technology may hold some promise for analyzing trial-level trends, it can’t predict which way the Supreme Court of Canada will jump."

"Commercial judicial analytics tools track the work of individual judges. SCC [Supreme Court of Canada] judges always sit in a panel and their rulings are arrived at collectively, if not always through consensus."

Salyzyn and McGill do see some use for analytics in Canada, such as spotting patterns in the judicial authorities and secondary information sources cited in judgments. This could help lawyers draft better or more effective submissions.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:30 pm


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