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First European Ethical Charter on AI in Judicial Systems

News. How do we make sure that artificial intelligence (AI) in judicial systems are compliant with international standards like the European Convention on Human Rightsand the Council of Europe convention on data protection? According to Council of Europe a brand new Charter and 5 key principles is part of the answer.

The charter is adopted by The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe and sets out ethical principles relating to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in judicial systems.

The goal is to ensure that “AI remains a tool in the service of the general interest and that its use respects individual rights” and is meant as a help policymakers and legal professionals working with processing of judicial decisions and data by algorithms and in the use made of them.

According to Council of Europe there is a lot of potential in AI in judicial system, and the view as set out in the Charter is that:

“the application of AI in the field of justice can contribute to improve the efficiency and quality and must be implemented in a responsible manner which complies with the fundamental rights guaranteed in particular in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Personal Data”.

The charter “European ethical Charter on the Use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and their environment” was decided on December 3. 2018 and was presented on Wednesday 23 January 2019 in Brussels.

These five core principles are identified in the field of AI and justice by CEPEJ:

  • Principle of respect of fundamental rights: ensuring that the design and implementation of artificial intelligence tools and services are compatible with fundamental rights;
  • Principle of non-discrimination: specifically preventing the development or intensification of any discrimination between individuals or groups of individuals;
  • Principle of quality and security: with regard to the processing of judicial decisions and data, using certified sources and intangible data with models conceived in a multi-disciplinary manner, in a secure technological environment;
  • Principle of transparency, impartiality and fairness: making data processing methods accessible and understandable, authorising external audits;
  • Principle “under user control”: precluding a prescriptive approach and ensuring that users are informed actors and in control of their choices.

About the charter:

  • The charter is 55 pages long and contains five fundamental principles plus ten chapters that discusses the issue from a practical perspective and includes a check list and a set of recommendations. Read it here 
  • The Charter is accompanied by an in-depth study on the use of AI in judicial systems, notably AI applications processing judicial decisions and data.
  • Read more at Council of Europe’s website here