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Artificial intelligence can never take into account the moral and ethical component while considering a court case


This was stated by the Chairman of the HCJ Hryhorii Usyk at a roundtable discussion dedicated to presentation of Opinion No. 26 (2023) of the Consultative Council of European Judges “Moving forward: the use of assistive technologies in judiciary”, organized by the Council of Europe Project “Support to the functioning of justice in the war and post-war context in Ukraine” jointly with the Supreme Court.

The Opinion highlights the potential benefits of using technology in the judiciary, as well as the challenges and risks to the independence of the judiciary. The scope of the Opinion is limited to the use of specific forms of modern technology, including the use of artificial intelligence to assist justice that may be used by the judicial bodies.

Participants of the event, representing the judiciary, legislative and executive authorities, academics and the public, discussed the challenges related to the digitalisation of the judiciary in Ukraine and compliance in this context with the Council of Europe's standards in the field of justice.

Chairman of the HCJ Hryhorii Usyk noted that the advisory opinion will be of assistance in the process of reforming and bringing the national judicial system closer to European standards with regard to the use of digital technologies.

Such technologies should be a tool for improving, first of all, administration, efficiency of the judiciary, including access to justice for citizens, ensuring a transparent and open trial, and this, of course, also concerns improving the quality of the court decisions.

Drawing attention to the challenges related to the use of artificial intelligence in the context of motivating court decisions, Hryhorii Usyk said:

“It is possible to quickly and efficiently find answers to questions about the application of substantive and procedural law, but artificial intelligence can never take into account the specifics of moral and ethical components in a court case. The introduction of artificial intelligence into the work of a judge should be gradual.”

The Chairman of the HCJ noted that such reservations were also expressed by judges of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary.

Hryhorii Usyk said that during his participation as an observer in the General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary, he noted that the use of information technology in Ukrainian judiciary is sometimes wider than in some leading European countries, and this is positive. In particular, not all countries have an analogue of the Unified State Register of Court Decisions, and the automatic distribution of court cases among judges is not always used in other countries. In Ukraine, the introduction of such systems was prompted by the demand of society and international partners to ensure openness and transparency of the courts.

Hryhorii Usyk noted that one of the requirements of the European Commission as a part of the negotiation process on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, one of the stages is the correct implementation of the work of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System, on which both the judiciary and the legislator are working together, recognizing the challenges that have arisen before the judiciary.

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Legal Policy Denys Maslov emphasized that no country in the world could appreciate the importance of the functioning of E-Justice, digitalization of processes, like Ukraine, since these technologies became widely used as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then became urgent because of war. After all, justice in our country did not stop during martial law.

He noted that the legislator continued work on the implementation of the latest technologies in the judiciary, in particular, the introduction of electronic cabinets. This should be the most useful, efficient system, both for consumers of judicial services and for judges and court staff.

Regarding the use of artificial intelligence in the judiciary, Denys Maslov said: “No artificial intelligence can replace a judge. Artificial intelligence can improve and make the work of a judge more convenient, but no one can replace humans.”

The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, Mr Maciej Janczak, assured of the Council of Europe’s readiness to actively work with partners in Ukraine and provide support in the context of strengthening justice during the war and in the post-war period, as he hopes will come very soon.

He noted that, on the one hand, the use of modern technologies strengthens judiciary, on the other hand, it can lead to a number of challenges for justice, such as the risk to the independence of the judiciary and the preservation of the integrity of personal data and evidence, full court control over information used in court hearings, awareness of access to these technologies. In this regard, systematic training, in particular for judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, is extremely important. The Council of Europe is ready to share the best experience in the use of technology so that Ukraine can avoid the mistakes that were once made by EU member states.

For reference. The round table was attended by judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Supreme Court, local courts and courts of appeal, members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, Council of Judges of Ukraine, representatives of the Secretariat of the High council of Justice, National School of Judges of Ukraine, State Judicial Administration of Ukraine, representatives of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Consultative Council of European Judges, public organizations.