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AI bots to comb through 400,000 England and Wales judgments

17 Dec 2020 / technology Print

AI bots to comb through 400,000 UK judgments

Artificial intelligence is now being used to comb through judgments of courts in England and Wales, the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales reports. 

In a breakthrough agreement after a year of negotiations, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) will give access to its 400,000-case judgment database to Oxford University researchers.

The deal prevents AI bots from predicting the outcome of cases on a judge-by-judge basis, after input from the judiciary and Britain’s Ministry of Justice.


A statement said the that arrangement would “unlock new research insights into English case law”, and develop improved access to legal information. 

Oxford professor John Armour said that AI analysis of the cases had “the potential to revolutionise lawtech in the UK”.

He added that bulk access to data had been a stumbling block for this type of work up until now.

“We hope that, in addition to facilitating important academic progress in the application of AI to common-law decision-making, our agreement with BAILII will also serve as a model for future such arrangements,” he told the Gazette.


Chair of the BAILII trustees, Sir Ross Cranston, said that BAILII was delighted to collaborate with the highly regarded research team at Oxford University in their important work on the ‘AI for English Law‘ project.

Their findings will guide BAILII in developing a policy on data-sharing for large-scale data analysis that aligns with emerging policy at HM Courts and Tribunals Service and the Ministry of Justice.

It is understood that BAILII is not charging for data made available, but that any costs will be reimbursed.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland