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The Wall Street Journal introduced its readership to the future application of the metaverse to the workplace in a recent article entitled Why the Metaverse Will Change the Way You Work: Virtual meetings that feel real, new ways to build and teach, plus jobs you haven’t heard of—soon it won’t be science fiction. The metaverse blends the real-time communication of internet video platforms with the virtual and augmented reality spaces. The pandemic demonstrated that many office jobs lend themselves to work-from-home options, which improves the lives of many individuals by limiting commuting time and taking cars off the streets. According to the article, the metaverse currently exists in its infancy, but its future applications seem nearly limitless. The article references virtual vacations that conjure memories of the 1980s movie Total Recall and virtual real estate walkthroughs with listing agents. The article reports that tech visionaries expect virtual spaces to eliminate or drastically reduce in-person workspaces and business trips. The metaverse combines the connectivity of Web 2.0 with the benefits of virtual and augmented reality settings that allow participants to interact with “goods like machinery or fabrics.”  

The article describes situations where virtual workers could “teleport” across large corporate campuses or even from points worldwide and engage in a fully immersive “work” space. While current hardware in this space is often clunky and cumbersome, the article maintains that drawbacks to its adoption, including size and expense, will drastically reduce as the technology develops The best quote from the article comes from John Egan, the chief executive of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, where he says, “The metaverse will be evolutionary, not revolutionary.”

Metaverse Courtrooms 

Adopting the metaverse in the public sector will have a tremendous impact on court proceedings’ future. From the pandemic’s beginning, federal and state courts raced to shift operations from traditional brick and mortar proceedings to online or “virtual” spaces. While many court systems adopted Zoom, or Microsoft Skype and later Teams, as the platform of choice to conduct their business, many glitches appeared. 

Specifically, a lawyer appearing before a judge could not remove a kitten filter during a routine conference. This clip went viral, demonstrating the generational divide among many legal practitioners and showing the limitations of video conference platforms to the judicial branch’s constitutional duties. The technology proved challenging to adapt for trials. In both trials before judges (bench trials) or before a jury it became increasingly challenging to evaluate witness testimony.

The New York State Unified Court System uses a Microsoft Teams platform to conduct its virtual business. While it includes an “all together” mode that mimics auditorium seating, it engenders a feeling more of a university lecture hall than a courtroom. The current technology does not adapt well for trial work, but it does meet a majority the requirements for efficiently conducting routine conferences and arguing motions and appeals before judges.

As the article states, the evolutionary aspect of the metaverse provides a comprehensive platform for the technological growth necessary to virtualize the constitutional duties of the judiciary truly. Fully immersive digital technology will allow trial lawyers, judges, witnesses, and jurors to exist in a shared digital courtroom. A shared metaverse courtroom will remedy the issues surrounding the evaluation of witness testimony and allow litigants to present physical evidence in a virtual setting. At the same time, it raises personal privacy concerns, where a judge or their clerk may ensure the attentiveness of the jury through biometric markers. Current hardware used to access the metaverse allows the environment’s creators to monitor biometric feedback from attendees. While such technology applications may raise red flags associated with personal privacy, they will assure jury engagement for trial lawyers and the court. While the pandemic forced courts across the country to pivot to virtual operations using clunky technology not designed for the intricacies of America’s confrontational judicial trial system, the evolution of the metaverse will leave most of those drawbacks behind.Report this

Published by

Jeffrey Alfano, Esq.

Jeffrey Alfano, Esq.

Professional Public Policy and Law Analyst, Judicial District Legal Manager

WASHINGTON:

The US State Department on Tuesday released its 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report that declared Pakistan remains on Tier 2, however, was upgraded in status by being taken off the “watchlist”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the report at a ceremony at the State Department.

TIP calls for action against domestic trafficking in human beings. The countries categorised under Tier 2 are those governments that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with these standards.

Pakistan remains in Tier 2 on the country trafficking scale but has been removed from the “watchlist”, which means in case of a lack of further progress, the country would be downgraded to Tier 3, and sanctions would follow.

“The [Pakistan] government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore, Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2,” the report said.

These efforts, according to the report, included increasing investigations, prosecutions and convictions, including increasing investigations and prosecutions under the 2018 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (PTPA).

“The government referred more victims for protection services. The government’s provincial departments increased implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on victim identification and referral and trained more stakeholders,” it said.

“The government allocated resources for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and amended the PTPA to remove provisions that allowed fines in lieu of imprisonment for sex trafficking crimes with women and children as victims.”

This is a step forward from last year when the report on the performance of 188 countries stated that “the government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.”

In addition, Pakistan has also been removed from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list which identifies governments having government-supported armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers, a designation that could result in restrictions on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.

However, a recent report released by the HRCP painted a grim picture of women trafficking in the country. The report identified Pakistan as a source, transit and destination for human trafficking, which indicates the danger women, particularly economically vulnerable ones, find themselves in.

Across the country, scores of women are abducted each year. Unfortunately, little priority is accorded to the issue, which has paved the way for the trafficking networks to thrive and coerce women into sex trafficking, child labour, bonded labour, forced begging and forced marriage.

Last year, the government had launched a comprehensive National Action Plan to combat human trafficking, but little progress has been made.

The FIA finds itself strained with minimal resources and capacity because of which it has remained unable to achieve the targets of the plan.

Lack of cohesion among the various law enforcement agencies, absence of reliable data on trafficking, and poor implementation of anti-trafficking laws have further impeded the process of tackling the problem effectively.

The government’s lacklustre attitude towards the issue is worrisome because nearly half of the population of Pakistan constitutes women of which a large proportion is threatened by traffickers.

Even women that have been retrieved from trafficking networks face the risk of re-victimisation due to a lack of protection and general awareness amongst society.

The Ministry of Law and Justice in light of the Supreme Court decision announced the establishment of the Directorate of Legal Education in the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).  

The Law Ministry established the Directorate at the request of the Pakistan Bar Council and by the special efforts of Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar.  

According to a statement issued by the ministry, the Directorate of Legal Education would be headed by Osama Malik, Deputy Adviser to the Ministry of Law, and would serve as the Director of the Directorate of Legal Education while Zahoor Ahmed, Legislative Adviser to the Ministry of Law, would be the focal person on behalf of the Ministry.  

Other law enforcement officers and support staff had also been deployed.  Arrangements made by the Ministry of Law would continue till amendments in the relevant rules and establishment of a directorate by the Pakistan Bar Council.

Law is a system of rules enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. Law’s scope can be divided into 2 domains. Public law concerns government and society, including constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law. On the other hand, private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organizations in areas such as contracts, property, torts/delicts and commercial law. This difference is stronger in civil law countries, mainly those with a separate system of administrative courts.

In this world where we live, there is about 49% women and 51% men, and same is the case with Pakistan. We have a greater number of women than men and it is our duty to protect the right of women and take a stand for them. To encourage women empowerment and provide quality Law education in Pakistan, there is an Institute in Lahore, Model Town, working under the name of Lahore School of Law. The education of Law is vital for the citizens living in a country. The inhabitants of Pakistan are in a dire need of law education in schools, colleges, offices, universities, and work places. The country has been facing a legal education crisis for a very long time. There is a lack of institutional consensus about the entrance examinations for bar and law schools. Also, there is some confusion about the curriculum and method of teaching, and the method of final examination, etc. For years, the relevant institutions (HEC, Pakistan Bar Council), the government and the SJC (Supreme Judicial Council) have ignored the importance of law education and training of lawyers and judges. Under the HEC Ordinance 2002, the HEC is mandated to make sure the quality of higher education. However, under the 18th Amendment of the 1973 constitution, higher education was transferred to the provinces, but till now, no province has enlisted any legal framework or policy to regulate law education.

Regrettably, the law education system in the country does not fill the wide gap that exists among practice and theory. This is due to the reason that it fails to expose the students of law to legal practice which stops them from engaging with it completely or understanding several aspects of it which are essential to prepare them for the legal practice in future. Our curriculum just focuses on discussing the academic aspects of law. Thus, failure to cover the operational side of courts makes potential young lawyers and students face numerous issues. In this way, they are left behind blank regarding any career opportunity as they are not entirely equipped to understand the practical facets of the profession. Some of the pass outs prefer teaching career over practicing in courts whereas others keep trying their luck in limited places.

Published in Daily Times

The Supreme Court has ordered the constitution of an independent committee to make suggestions for regulating and improving the quality of legal education in the country and directed the law ministry to provide assistance in the formation of the body.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, said the proposed committee should determine the number of law colleges to be allowed to function as mushrooming of institutions affected the quality of teaching.

The court gave the order on a petition moved by Malik Aneeq Khatana, in which the petitioner had sought the issuance of an order restraining those lawyers from taking part in any elections who were enrolled either after passing on the basis of 40 per cent minimum marks, instead of 50 per cent, or without passing the Law Graduate Assessment Test (LAW-GAT).

The CJP directed the law ministry to constitute the standing committee after consulting bar councils across the country.

According to the petitioner, lawyers in Punjab find the standard of law education in the country “embarrassing and shocking” and feel that steps must be taken to stem the rot.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that no one knew better than judges how to bear criticism despite showing good intentions but in the end only truth prevails. The observation came when Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon regretted that the court have tolerated criticism with great forbearance.

On July 22, 2019, former CJP Asif Saeed Khosa had observed during a hearing that immediate measures were needed to improve the quality of law teaching as well as to bring back the “nobility of the legal profession”.

“We will have to launch a movement for restoration of the nobility of legal profession,” Justice Khosa said.

Essential attributes

The Supreme Court, acting upon a petition brought by the Pakistan Bar Council, had mandated that sound professional training and skills in both academic and vocational disciplines must be essential attributes for ensuring good advocacy.

The judgement had identified that PBC was the key regulator for monitoring standards in legal education.

Consequently, the PBC framed the Pakistan Bar Council Legal Education Rules, 2015 (Rules).

The petition regretted that in Pakistan, legal education has become a business and was no longer a medium of producing quality lawyers.

The most shocking example of this is the saturation of foreign degree programmes like the University of London degree courses, to which local regulations do not apply.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2022

By Jonah Wu (Published in Legal Design and Innovation)

1. Can AI help improve access to civil courts?

Civil court leaders have a newly strong interest in how artificial intelligence can improve the quality and efficiency of legal services in the justice system, especially for problems that self-represented litigants face [12345]. The promise is that artificial intelligence can address the fundamental crises in courts: that ordinary people are not able to use the system clearly or efficiently; that courts struggle to manage vast amounts of information; and that litigants and judicial officials often have to make complex decisions with little support.

If AI is able to gather and sift through vast troves of information, identify patterns, predict optimal strategies, detect anomalies, classify issues, and draft documents, the promise is that these capabilities could be harnessed for making the civil court system more accessible to people.

The question then, is how real these promises are, and how they are being implemented and evaluated. Now that early experimentation and agenda-setting have begun, the study of AI as a means for enhancing the quality of justice in the civil court system deserves greater definition. This paper surveys current applications of AI in the civil court context. It aims to lay a foundation for further case studies, observational studies, and shared documentation of AI for access to justice development research. It catalogues current projects, reflects on the constraints and infrastructure issues, and proposes an agenda for future development and research.

2. Background to the Rise of AI in the Legal System

When I use the term Artificial Intelligence, I distinguish it from general software applications that are used to input, track, and manage court information. Our basic criteria for AI-oriented projects is that the technology has capacity to perceive knowledge, make sense of data, generate predictions or decisions, translate information, or otherwise simulate intelligent behavior. AI does not include all court technology innovations. For example, I am not considering websites that broadcast information to the public; case or customer management systems that store information; or kiosks, apps, or mobile messages that communicate case information to litigants.

The discussion of AI in criminal courts is currently more robust than in civil courts. It has been proposed as a means to monitor and recognize defendants; support sentencing and bail decisions; and better assess evidence [3]. Because of the rapid rise of risk assessment AI in the setting of bail or sentencing, there has been more description and debate on AI [6]. There has been less focus on AI’s potential, or its concerns, in the civil justice system, including for family, housing, debt, employment, and consumer litigation. That said, there has been a robust discourse over the past 15 years of what technology applications and websites could be used by courts and legal aid groups to improve access to justice [7].

The current interest in AI for civil court improvements is in sync with a new abundance of data. As more courts have gathered data about administration, pleadings, litigant behavior, and decisions [1], it presents powerful opportunities for research and analytics in the courts, that can lead to greater efficiency and better design of services. Some groups have managed to use data to bring enormous new volumes of cases into the court system — like debt collection agencies, which have automated filings of cases against people for debt [8], often resulting in complaints that have missing or incorrect information and minimal, ineffective notice to defendants. If litigants like these can harness AI strategies to flood the court with cases, could the courts use its own AI strategies to manage and evaluate these cases and others — especially to better protect unwitting defendants against low-quality lawsuits?

The rise in interest in AI coincides with state courts experiencing economic pressure: budgets are cut, hours are reduced, and even some locations are closed [9]. Despite financial constraints, courts are expected to provide modern, digital, responsive services like in other consumer services. This presents a challenging expectation for the courts. How can they provide judicial services in sync with rapidly modernizing other service sectors — in finance, medicine, and other government bodies — within significant cost constraints? The promise of AI is that it can scale up quality services and improving efficiency, to improve performances and save costs [10].

A final background factor to consider is the growing concern over public perceptions of the judicial system. Yearly surveys indicate that communities find courts out of touch with the public, and with calls for greater empathy and engagement with “everyday people” [11]. Given that the mission of the court is to provide an avenue to lawful justice to constituents, if AI can help the court better achieve that mission without adding on averse risks, it would help the courts establish greater procedural and distributive justice for its litigants, and hopefully then bolster its legitimacy to the public and engagement with it.

3. What could be? Proposals in the Literature for AI for access to justice

What has the literature proposed on how AI techniques can address the access to justice crisis in civil courts? Over the past several decades, distinct use cases have been proposed for development. There is a mix of litigant-focused use cases (to help them understand the system and make stronger claims), and court-focused use cases (to help it improve its efficiency, consistency, transparency, and quality of services).

  • Answer a litigant’s questions about how the law applies to them. Computational law experts have proposed automated legal reasoning as a way to understand if a given case is in accordance with the law or not [12]. Court leaders also envision AI to help litigants conduct effective, direct research into how the law would apply to them [4,5]. Questions of how the law would apply to a given case lay on a spectrum of complexity. Questions that are more straightforwardly algorithmic (e.g., if a person exceeded a speed limit, or if a quantity or date is in an acceptable range) can be automated with little technical challenge [13]. Questions that have more qualitative standards, like whether it was reasonable, unconscionable foreseeable, or done in good faith, are not as easily automated — but they might be with greater work in deep learning and neural networks. Many propose that expert systems, or AI-powered chatbots might help litigants know their rights and make claims [14].
  • Analyze the quality of a legal claim and evidence. Several proposals are around making it easier to understand what has been submitted to court, and how a case has proceeded. Some exploratory work has pointed towards how AI could automatically classify a case docket, the chronological events in a case, in order that it could be understood computationally [15]. Machine learning could find patterns in claims and other legal filings, to indicate whether something has been argued well, whether the law supports it, and evaluate it versus competing claims [16].
  • Provide coordinated guidance for a person without a lawyer. Many have proposed focus on developing a holistic AI-based system to guide people without lawyers through the choices and procedure of a civil court case. One vision is of an advisory system that would help a person understand available forms of relief, helping them understand if they can meet the requirements, informing them of procedural requirements; and helping them to draft court documents [1718].
  • Predict and automate decisionmaking. Another proposal, discussed within the topic of online dispute resolution, is around how AI could either predict how a case will be decided (and thus give litigants a stronger understanding of their changes), or to actually generate a proposal of how a disputes should be settled [1920]. In this way, prediction of judicial decisions could be useful to access to justice. It could be integrated into online court platforms where people are exploring their legal options, or where they are entering and exchanging information in their case. The AI would help litigants to make better choices regarding how they file, and it would help courts expedite decision-making by either supporting or replacing human judges’ rulings.

4. What is happening so far? AI in action for access

With many proposals circulating about how AI might be applied for access to justice, where can we see these possibilities being developed and piloted with courts? Our initial survey identifies a handful of applications in action.

4.1. Predicting settlement arrangements, judicial decisions, and other outcomes of claims

One of the most robust areas of AI in access to justice work has been in developing applications to predict how a claim, case, or settlement will be resolved by a court. This area of predictive analytics has been demonstrated in many research projects, and in some cases have been integrated into court workflows.

In Australian Family Law courts, a team of artificial intelligence experts and lawyers have begun to develop Split-Up system, to use rules-based reasoning in concert with neural networks to predict outcomes for property disputes in divorce and other family law cases [21]. The Split Up system is used by judges to support their decision-making, by helping them to identify the assets of marriage that should be included in a settlement, and then establishing what percentage of the common pool each party should receive — which is a discretionary judicial choice based on factors including contributions, amount of resources, and future needs. The system incorporates 94 relevant factors to make its analysis, which uses neural network statistical techniques. The judge can then propose a final property order based on the system’s analysis. The system also seeks to make transparent explanations of its decision, so it uses Toulmin Argument structures to represent how it reached its predictions.

Researchers have created algorithms to predict Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights decisions [222324]. They use natural language processing and machine learning to construct models that predict the courts’ decision with strong accuracy. Their predictions draw from the formal facts submitted in the case to identify what a likely outcome, and potentially even individual justices’ votes will be. This judicial decision prediction research can possibly used to offer predictive analytic tools to litigants, so they can better assess the strength of their claim and understand what outcomes they might face. Legal technology companies like Ravel and LexMachina [2526], claim that they can predict judges’ decision and case behavior, or the outcomes of an opposing party. The applications are mainly aimed at corporate-level litigation, rather than access to justice.

4.2. Detecting abuse and fraud against people the court oversees

Courts’ role in overseeing guardians and conservators means that they should be reducing financial exploitation of vulnerable people by those appointed to protect them. With particular concern for financial abuse of elderly by their conservators or guardians, a team in Utah began building an AI tool to identify likely fraud in the reported financial transactions that conservators or guardians submit to the court. The system, developed in concert with a Minnesota court system in a hackathon, would detect anomalies and fraud-related patterns, and send flag notifications to courts to investigate further [28].

4.3. Preventative Diagnosis of legal issues, matching to services, and automating relief

A robust branch of applications has been around using AI techniques to spot people’s legal needs (that they potentially did not know they had), and then either match them to a service provider or to automate a service for them, to help resolve their need. This approach has begun with the expungement use case — in which states have policies to help people clear their criminal record, but without widespread uptake. With this problem in mind, groups have developed AI programs to automatically flag who has a criminal record to clear, and then to streamline the expungement. help automate the expungement process for their region. In Maryland, Matthew Stubenberg from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (now in Harvard’s A2J Lab) built a suite of tools to spot their organization’s clients’ problems, including overdue bills and criminal records that could be expunged. This tool helped legal aid attorneys diagnose their clients’ problems. Stubenberg also made the criminal record application public-facing, as MDExpungement, for anyone to automatically find if they have a criminal record and to submit a request to clear it [29].

Code for America is working inside courts to develop another AI application for expungement. They are work with the internal databases of California courts to automatically identify expunge eligible records, eliminating the need for individuals to apply for [30].

The authors, in partnership with researchers at Suffolk LIT Lab, are working on an AI application to automatically detect legal issues in people’s descriptions of their life problems, that they share in online forums, social media, and search queries [31]. This project involves labeling datasets of people’s problem stories, taken from Reddit and online virtual legal clinics, to then train a classifier to be able to automatically recognize what specific legal issue a person might have based on their story. This classifier could be used to power referral bots (that send people messages with local resources and agencies that could help them), or to translate people’s problem stories into actionable legal triage and advisory systems, as had been envisioned in the literature.

4.4. Analyzing quality of claims and citations

Considering how to help courts be more efficient in their analysis of claims and evidence, there are some applications — like the product Clerk from the company Judicata — that can read, analyze, and score submissions that people and lawyers make to the court [32]. These applications can assess the quality of a legal brief, to give clerks, judges, or litigants the ability to identify the source of the arguments, cross check them against the original, and possibly also find other related cases. In addition to improving the efficiency of analysis, the tool could be used for better drafting of submissions to the court — with litigants checking the quality of their pleadings before submitting them.

4.5. Active, intelligent case management

The Hebei High Court in China has reported the development of a smart court management AI, termed Intelligent Trial 1.0 system [33]. It automatically scans in and digitizes filings; it classifies documents into electronic files; it matches the parties to existing case parties; it identifies relevant laws, cases, and legal documents to be considered; it automatically generates all necessary court procedural documents like notices and seals; and it distributes cases to judges for them to be put on the right track. The system coordinates various AI tasks together into a workstream that can reduce court staff and judges’ workloads.

4.6. Online dispute resolution platforms and automated decision-making

Online dispute resolution platforms have grown around the United States, some of them using AI techniques to sort claims and propose settlements. Many ODR platforms do not use AI, but rather act as a collaboration and streamlining platform for litigants’ tasks. ODR platforms like Rechtwijzer, MyLaw BC, and the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal, use some AI techniques to sort which people can use the platform to tackle a problem, and to automate decision-making and settlement or outcome proposal [34].

We also see new pilots of online dispute platforms in Australia, in the state of Victoria with its VCAT pilot for small claims (that is now in hiatus, awaiting future funding) — and in Utah, for its small claims in one place outside Salt Lake City.

These pilots are using platforms like Modria (part of Tyler Technology), Modron, or Matterhorn from Court Innovations. How much AI is part of these systems is not clear — it seems they are mainly platform for logging details and preferences, communicating between parties, and drafting/signing settlements (without any algorithm or AI tool making a decision proposal or crafting a strategy for parties). If the pilots are successful and become ongoing projects, then we can expect future iterations to possibly involve more AI-powered recommendations or decision tools.

5. Agenda for Development and Infrastructure of AI in access to justice

If an ecosystem of access to justice AI is to be accelerated, what is the agenda to guide the growth of projects? There is work to be done on the infrastructure of sharing data, defining ethics standards, security standards, and privacy policies. In addition, there is organizational and coalition-building work, to allow for more open innovation and cross-organization initiatives to grow.

5.1.Opening and standardizing datasets

Currently, the field of AI for access to justice is harmed by the lack of open, labeled datasets. Courts do hold relatively small datasets, but there are not standard protocols to make them available to the public or to researchers, nor are there labeled datasets to be used in training AI tools [35]. There are a few examples of labelled court datasets, like from the Board of Veterans Appeals [36]. A newly-announced US initiative, the National Court Open Data Standards Project, will promote standardization of existing court data, so that there can be more seamless sharing and cross-jurisdiction projects [37].

5.2.Making Policies to Manage Risks

There should be multi-stakeholder design of the infrastructure, to define an evolving set of guidance for issues around the following large risks that court administrators have identified as worries around new AI in courts [45].

  • Bias of possible Training Data Sets. Can we better spot, rectify, and condition inherent biases that the data sets might have, that we are using to train the new AI?
  • Lack of transparency of AI Tools. Can we create standard ways to communicate how an AI tool works, to ensure there is transparency to litigants, defendants, court staff, and others, so that there can be robust review of it?
  • Privacy of court users. Can we have standard redaction and privacy policies that prevent individuals’ sensitive information from being exposed [38]? There are several redaction software applications that use natural language processing to scan documents and automatically redact sensitive terms [3940].
  • New concerns for fairness. Will courts and the legal profession have to change how they define what ‘information versus advice’ is, as currently guide regulations about what types of technological help can be given to litigants? Also, if AI exposes patterns of arbitrary or biased decision-making in the courts, how will the courts respond to change personnel, organizational structures, or court procedures to better provide fairness?

For many of these policy questions, there are government-focused ethics initiatives that the justice system can learn from, as they define best practices and guiding principles for how to integrate AI responsibly into public, powerful institutions [424344].

6. Conclusion

This paper’s survey of proposals and applications for AI’s use for access to justice demonstrates how technology might be operationalized for social impact.

If there is more infrastructure-oriented work now, that establishes how courts can share data responsibly, and set new standards for privacy, transparency, fairness, and due process in regards to AI applications, this nascent set of projects may blossom into many more pilots over the next several years.

In a decade, there may be a full ecosystem of AI-powered courts, in which a person who faces a problem with eviction, credit card debt, child custody, or employment discrimination could have clear, affordable, efficient ways to use use the public civil justice system to resolve their problem. Especially with AI offering more preventative, holistic support to litigants, it might have anti-poverty effects as well, ensuring that the legal system resolves people’s potential life crises, rather than exacerbating them.

HEC has announced LAW GAT test registration dates for the LAW Graduate assessment test 2022. The LAW-GAT will tentatively be held on February 20, 2022. Candidates who have passed Bachelor’s degree in Law or equivalent from a university recognized by HEC/PBC can register themselves online through http://etc.hec.gov.pk Applications can be submitted online at the HEC website. HEC LAE-GAT is compulsory for all LLB graduates before entering the legal profession for practicing law.

The test will consist of Multiple Choice Questions (MCOs). Applicants who have registered through HEC online registration process will download their Roll Number Slip through http://etc.hec.gov.pk a week before the test date. Email/SMS will be sent to registered applicants regarding the test date time, and venue. Candidates are required to provide a valid email/mobile number while filling out the online application form.

A print of Roll Number Slip and original CNIC will be required to enter Test Centre.

Eligibility Criteria for HEC Law GAT 2022

  • Persons having passed Bachelor’s degree in Law from a university recognized by HEC and PBC are eligible to apply.

HEC-Law GAT Test Centers

The Test will be conducted in the following Centers:

  • Islamabad
  • Lahore 
  • Karachi
  • Sukkur 
  • Abbottabad
  • Quetta 
  • Multan
  • Hyderabad
  • Turbat
  • Bahawalpur
  • Peshawar
  • Muzaffarabad
  • Faisalabad
  • Gilgit

Applicants may select any test Centre from the list available in the application form.

Test win only be held on any of the above Centers if a minimum of 100 applicants will select that Centre.

Test Centre once selected will not be changed after registration.

How to Register for HEC Law Graduate Assessment Test GAT 2022

  • Please visit the following link: http://etc.hec.gov.pk for online registration.
  • In case of any difficulty during online registration, please send an email at [email protected] .gov.pk or visit HEC Secretariat or HEC Regional Centers for guidance
  • Application submission comprises two steps: profile completion using the “My Profile” section, and application submission using “Law GAT Test” link on the menu panel in the left-hand sidebar of online portal.
  • Only SUBMITTED applications will be considered for LAW-GAT Test and applications in SAVE or
  • The INCOMPLETE mode will not be entertained.
  • A test fee of Rs. 3000/- is to be deposited Online/ATM in Account No. O 1127900567403

Account Title: Higher Education Commission,

Bank: Habib Bank Limited, Branch Code: 0112.

Bank draft/ Pay Order will not be accepted

  • Applicants are required to submit original fee deposit slip/ATM/online transfer through courier at
  • Room No. 13-207,2nd Floor, HRD Building, HEC, H-8, Islamabad on or before the last date of registration.
  • Please mention your CNIC number at the backside of the deposit slip. 
  • The examination is non-transferable non-refundable and
  • Deadline for Online Registration February 07, 2022.

Other Requirements/Conditions

  • A 50% score is required to pass the Law Graduate Assessment Test (Law-GAT).
  • Applicants will have to meet other criteria, if any, as per the Rules and Regulations of PBC.
  • Applicants will have a maximum of three chances to clear the Law-GAT test. HEC will conduct the test thrice a year.

A student team has pitched Mouthpiece Law, a legal technology platform that aims to reduce the traditional overhead costs for legal practitioners by as much as 50 per cent, at the Collision 2021 Conference.

The team members include three students from Queen’s Faculty of Law: Avinash Pillay, Mouthpiece Law’s chief operating officer and chief legal engineer; Yoonhyun Cho, chief executive officer and chief legal entrepreneur; and Daniel Moholia, chief information officer. Thabo Magubane from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg Law School acts as chief technology officer, said the news release.

Collision is a technology conference with participants including e-commerce companies, social media companies, software companies, start-ups, fintech providers, investors and celebrities. The 2021 conference saw more than 38,000 remote participants.

Mouthpiece Law seeks to offer the general public cost-effective solutions to access legal services through reduced overhead costs, to promote access to justice for traditionally marginalized communities, to help legal practitioners earn more revenue via digitization and to assist the legal community in adapting to the shift in legal delivery models to more data-driven methods.

Pillay and Cho, accepted into the Legal Innovation Zone’s Concept Framework Incubation program which is modeled after Ryerson University’s DMZ program, started collaborating as project leads at the Conflict Analytics Lab, which is based at Queen’s Law and at the Smith School of Business. Now, according to Pillay, the team members have been communicating with angel investors and venture capitalists that they met during Collision.

“The legal technology market is growing rapidly as lawyers begin to realize the cost inefficiencies of antiquated billing and case management software,” said Pillay in the news release. “AI is becoming a buzz word in the law, and [venture capitalists] seem to be increasingly driven to find ethical and ethnically diverse start-ups.”

The team is also developing MyLawyerProfile as one of Mouthpiece Law’s products, which is a virtual networking platform for lawyers and law students to share information such as their resumes, case work, billable rates, thought leadership and areas of experience. The platform seeks to promote professional development, to attract new clients and to reduce fatigue and complacency among legal professionals with the use of gamified engagement elements inspired by blockchain technology.

“Our users can earn unique badges based on their work on our platforms, such as rare badges that are limited quantity and serial-number-based to enhance the resume and job prospects of practitioners and law students,” said Cho.

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Rojhan police claim to have recovered a 13-year-old girl from a brothel at Chak Dilbar village, arresting her father who allegedly sold her to criminals and a woman pimp.

The issue was highlighted after a video clip was uploaded on social media in which an unidentified man showed a picture of a 13-year-old girl, saying that she had been sold by her father to criminals running a brothel at Chak Dilbar village of Rojhan tehsil.

The man also appealed to the public to rescue the minor girl from the brothel.

Rojhan Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Ishaq said that to confirm the presence of the minor girl at the brothel, he sent an informer to the village who contacted a woman pimp.

The SHO said the informer, posing as a client, asked the woman to bring the girl. He said the woman charged Rs1,500 from the police informer and as soon as she brought the girl, a police team raided the brothel and took her in protective custody, besides arresting the woman.

The SHO said the girl confirmed to the police that her father had sold her to the criminals running the brothel.

Rajanpur District Police Officer Muhammad Afzal told Dawn that the police had also arrested the father of the minor girl and registered a case against the pimp woman and the father of the girl under sections 371A, 371B and the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act 2018.

Written by ABC Legal Services

In response to the world-wide pandemic that is COVID-19, courts around the world have had to adapt to the challenges presented by this unprecedented situation. While a critical transition from traditional court proceedings to an online mode has allowed justice to continue in many jurisdictions, courts and legal professionals are now tasked with the added responsibility of adopting newer technologies in the face of an ever-changing COVID-19 legal landscape.

Legal professionals now find themselves in a position to embrace newer, perhaps unfamiliar technologies to support a growing number of online court services. However challenging these changes may seem, they also present an opportunity to improve upon resources and quality of service offered to clients.

Change can be hard. The justice system and its  pre-pandemic resistance to technology are no exception. Let’s explore how COVID-19 has changed the courts perception and use of technology, while bringing with it a compelling silver-lining.

How Is Technology Impacting The Courts ? 

Leveraging technology is simply easier for some courts than others. While a range of courts look to the newest technologies to operate, others continue to rely on antiquated approaches that have been around for decades due to budgeting constraints and opinions, as well as lack of experience and trust around technology.

On August 30, 2020 the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) released the findings from a study titled, “Court innovations and access to justice in times of crisis” which examined the courts response to the pandemic on a global scale. The study looked at how this shift was made through the use of technology while maintaining equal and fair access to the courts. The responses were notably varied. Some parts of the U.S. justice system waxed while others waned.

Justice Is Becoming Increasingly Digitized

The 2020 NCBI study continues to express how courts are struggling with the shift to remote styles of working. This shift to digitizing the justice system came fast, and some had to scramble simply to make e-filing (not even a new technology) arrangements. Another aspect is video conferencing applications such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and WebEx. In the more immediate responses to COVID-19 many judicial systems quickly developed video conferencing facilities as a way of dealing with the hearing process. In reality, some courts have struggled with video conferencing while others have navigated the process with less complications. Issues of data privacy and security have been prevalent as well as issues regarding jury trials. As increasing delays become a growing concern for many courts, (ODR) online dispute resolution has become inevitably popular. ODR makes for a logical alternative during this time, as its use of technology and dispute resolution methods outside of the traditional courtroom provides alternative access to the justice system through widely-accepted methods.

This study makes a very significant and impactful point: ‘Access to justice’ implies a notion that there is universal access to the judicial system without unreasonable delay. There is growing concern among legal experts that a possible ‘case boom’ caused by the pandemic is on the horizon and therefore, courts around the world will need to adapt to the use of technology with speed and effectiveness as well as increase efforts to develop  strategies surrounding access.

Aside from a growing need for the integration of widespread technology use in court services, jurisdictions can reduce unreasonable delays by encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as well as ODR in lieu of pursuing traditional methods through the courts.

Perhaps there is a silver lining to all of this; legal tech has seen a transformational shift with the introduction of machine learning, automation, AI and blockchain advancements. This shift provides additional opportunities for legal professionals, law firms and legal departments to implement substantial improvements in regards to efficiency, productivity, security and marketability.

As technology is constantly evolving and the options can seem overwhelming, ABC Legal Services will be holding a free webinar Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. PDT | 2:30 p.m. EDT called, ” A New Day in Court: Technology and the Legal System.” Those interested can register for the free webinar here: https://bit.ly/3iVVlvF

Join ABC Legal Services for an in-depth look at how technology can help legal professionals improve access to the judicial system, as well as increase efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day operations.

As repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold in the justice system, the expansion of technology into the legal industry is allowing courts to become an accessible service, rather than simply a place. This webinar will equip legal professionals with insight/best practices to better manage this inevitable shift, while also meeting the growing demands of your clients.

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