Thursday, June 20, 2024

SC says it will use AI in e-library to improve legal research

The Supreme Court (SC) will utilize artificial intelligence (AI) for the judiciary department’s e-library facility to make legal search faster and easier.

This was disclosed by SC chief justice Alexander G. Gesmundo as he addressed over 600 members of the Dumaguete legal community during the alumni homecoming of the Silliman University Law Alumni Association (SULAW) on Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

The chief magistrate highlighted the role of AI in enabling faster and easier access to legal references.

“[AI] will usher in the redevelopment of the Judiciary E-Library, which will include AI-enabled tech to improve its legal research capabilities,” said Gesmundo.

He described the current state of legal research as similar to “looking for a needle in haystacks upon haystacks.” Thus, technology must be maximized to improve the process, he said.

“Through natural language-processing — the same technology behind ChatGPT — we will install a search engine that will provide more accurate and reliable results; using machine learning, search algorithms will constantly self-improve based on the feedback of users,” he said.

He added: “AI-enabled tech will also generate analysis based on words and phrases, including their context, from previous cases or legal precedents, and predict and suggest possible outcomes for new cases.”

To illustrate how the AI-enabled legal research would work, Gesmundo presented a video where five different questions were submitted to the AI platform called E-Library Data Assistant, ranging from scenario-based legal queries to a request for a summary of a Supreme Court decision.

In each of the questions, the Data Assistant provided a response within 30 seconds.

Sample answer provided by the proposed AI legal research platform to a legal query

The proposed AI-enabled research tool is currently under further development. It is one of the projects under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI), the SC’s blueprint for judicial reform.

Another ongoing SPJI program shared by Gesmundo is the transformation of trial courts as electronic courts, using the much-improved eCourt version 2.0 software — including functions like e-payments, which can now be done through the Judiciary Electronic Payment Solution (JePS) and e-filing, which started development under eCourt version 2.0 last July.

Other SPJI projects being implemented are:

  • The Philippine Judiciary 365, a modern workplace collaboration solution which provides courts with the facility to electronically receive pleadings and other court submissions securely, hear and decide cases via videoconferencing, generate real-time transcripts of stenographic notes, and organize court calendars, among others;
  • The Bar Applicant Registration Information System and Tech Assistance, or BARISTA, the SCt’s online application platform for the 2023 Bar Examinations;
  • The Philippine Judicial Academy Learning Management System, which has made available online traditionally in-person training programs so justices, judges, court officials, and employees can now access on-demand and easily digestible courses at their own pace and convenience;
  • The digitized Benchbook for Philippine Trial Courts, containing updated pertinent laws, treaties, rules, regulations, jurisprudence, and the latest issuances of the high court, each of them searchable, downloadable, user-friendly, and ready for use; and
  • The Human Resource Information System and Financial Management Information System as part of the SC’s upgrading of its systems and processes.

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