Launch of a New Report: Building a Justice Data Infrastructure

Oxford/Zoom, 7 October 2020 - The members of WP2 (Mapping Digital Justice) research stream of the AI for English Law project hosted an online launch event for their report, ‘Building a Justice Data Infrastructure: Opportunities and Constraints’. The report draws upon extensive research and input from expert stakeholders to discuss what principles should guide attempts to create a justice data infrastructure, culminating in a series of fifteen recommendations.

After an introduction of the overarching AI for English Law project and an insight into the two major projects encompassed within WP2 (Mapping Digital Justice) an overview of the report was given by Hannah Smith and Stergios Aidinlis. To give an insight into the approach of the report, the team presented the report’s background, objectives, and three key recommendations. These recommendations covered the use of the ‘public interest’ as a concept to help determine acceptable uses of data in this context, the creation of a suitable governance structure, and the need for safeguards where date are retained and re-used.

Three responses were the given to the report by experts in fields related to access to judgements and justice data in the United Kingdom. The three respondents welcomed the publication of the report as a much-needed contribution to a rapidly evolving dialogue in the context of the HMCTS digital reform. First, attendees heard from Sir Ernest Ryder, the previous Senior President of Tribunals and current Master of Pembroke College, University of Oxford. He drew upon his significant experience to elucidate further the opportunities presented by increasing digitalisation of the UK justice system and welcomed the approach of the report. Dr. Natalie Byrom drew from her experiences at HMCTS and her ‘Digital Justice’ report, published by the Legal Education Foundation, to discuss the wider context in which this report is situated. The final remarks were given by Dr. Joe Tomlinson, Research Director at the Public Law Project. He welcomed the recommendations contained in the report and discussed the possible opportunities for Civil Society Organisations in this context, should their needs be appropriately recognised.

The event ended with a lively Q&A session, drawing upon the wealth of experiences and backgrounds of the attendees. The report is available now and we hope to publish a recording of the event on our YouTube channel soon.