Posts Tagged ‘Judicial information systems’
Two recent studies by the OECD provide evidence of the influence of technology on judicial performance in civil cases; both studies are linked and summarized at: Judicial performance and its determinants: a cross-country perspective.
Here are excerpts:
[...] The responsiveness of judges’ productivity to a 10% increase in the ICT budget share increases with computer literacy [...]
What are the main factors associated with trial length?
[...] On the supply side, some potential influencing factors are: the quantity and quality of financial and human resources devoted to justice; the efficiency of the production process as influenced, among other things, by the degree of task specialisation, the use of techniques for the efficient management of cases, and the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT); and the governance structure of the courts including the structure of incentives for judges and judicial staff. [...]
Factors associated with shorter trial length include larger shares of the justice budget devoted to court computerisation, the active management of the progress of cases by courts, the systematic production of statistics at the court level, the existence of specialised commercial courts and systems of court governance in which the chief judge has broader managerial responsibilities [...]
Investments in court computerisation are related with higher productivity of judges (measured as cases solved per judge), especially in countries where computer literacy is widespread facilitating the take-up of ICT-based opportunities. [...]
Larger shares of the justice budget devoted to computerisation are associated with better judicial performance
[...] Systems devoting a larger share of the justice budget to ICT investment display on average shorter trial length, as well as higher productivity of judges (number of cases disposed of by each judge). The link with productivity is stronger when computer literacy is widespread in the population, ensuring a better take-up of ICT-based facilities: moving from a share of people with basic computer skills of 33% to one of 54%, the responsiveness of judges’ productivity to investment in informatisation increases by four times. Thus, investments in computerisation and policies aimed at spreading out computer skills would seem to be complementary vis-à-vis this measure of justice productivity. [...]
For more details, please see the complete reports.
Papers on legal decision making or legal communication in new issue of Journal of Empirical Legal StudiesNovember 12, 2013
The new issue of Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (volume 10, issue 4) contains several articles on legal decision making or legal communication:
- Bryan C. McCannon: Prosecutor Elections, Mistakes, and Appeals
- Frank McIntyre, Shima Baradaran: Race, Prediction, and Pretrial Detention
- Jennifer K. Robbennolt, Robert M. Lawless: Bankrupt Apologies
- Dan Simon and Nicholas Scurich: The Effect of Legal Expert Commentary on Lay Judgments of Judicial Decision Making
- Jeff Yates, Damon M. Cann, Brent D. Boyea: Judicial Ideology and the Selection of Disputes for U.S. Supreme Court Adjudication
Professor Dr. Brian Carver of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Lissner, have announced the availability of Free Law Virtual Machine, a new set of tools from Free Law Project.
Here are excerpts of the announcement:
A goal of the Free Law Project is to make development of legal tools as easy as possible. In that vein, we’re excited to share that as of today we’re officially taking the wraps off what we’re calling the Free Law Virtual Machine.
For those not familiar with this, a virtual machine is a snapshot of a computer that can be run by anybody, anywhere. With this release, we’ve created a computer running Ubuntu Linux that our developers or academics can download, and which has all of the Free Law Project’s efforts pre-loaded and ready to go.
In addition to a number of minor improvements, the following are installed and configured:
- Development tools such as Intellij, Meld, vim, and Kiki
- Bookmarks of all American courts
In addition to providing a simple virtual machine that you can install, we’re also releasing sample data that can easily be imported into the CourtListener platform. This data is available in groups of 50, 500, 5,000 or 50,000 records so that anybody can easily begin working or experimenting with our platform.
If you’re interested in using the Free Law Virtual Machine, feel free to download and use it, and please get in touch in our developer forum. [...]
For more details, please see the complete announcement.
The Resources section provides access to a great set of resources on user research in legal information system design.
For more details, please see the site.
Several papers or posters on legal informatics are being presented at ICEGOV 2013: 7th International Conference on the Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, being held 22-25 October 2013 in Seoul:
- Pierre Andrews, Flávio Soares Corrêa da Silva: Using Parliamentary Open Data to Improve Participation
- Jan van Dijk, Sandra Kalidien, Sunil Choenni: Development, Implementation and Use of a Judicial Data Space System
- Carolina Gonzalez Tabares, William Montoya: How ‘Urna de Cristal’ gave support to the design and approval of Colombian Anti-Procedure Law (Decree 19 of 2012)
- Himanshu Jain, P. Radha Krishna, Kamalakar Karlapalem: E-Contract Enactment System for Effective E-Governance
- Adriana Simeão Ferreira, Daniel Gonçalves de Melo, Leondeniz Freitas: The Importance of e-Justice Centres in the Telecentres for the State of Acre – Brazilian Amazon
For abstracts or full text of papers, please contact the authors.
If you know of other legal informatics papers being presented at the conference, please let us know in the comments to this post.
Here is the abstract:
The courts have long recognized a general right to inspect and copy judicial documents. Yet, large swaths of filings in patent litigations are often inaccessible. This article takes a closer look at this phenomenon by examining a single case. The Monsanto v. DuPont dispute over genetically modified Roundup resistant crops was chosen because of the impact it has on both agribusiness and patent law. The $1 billion award against DuPont will undoubtedly shape the future of the market for genetically modified crops. Moreover, because the award was issued before a single infringing seed was sold, the case raises novel patent remedy issues.
This article assesses how transparent this landmark case was from two perspectives. Initially, it measures the nature and quantity of documents filed under seal. Next, this article selectively drills down on three different phases of the litigation, the pleadings, summary judgment and trial, to provide a more nuanced understanding of what the public cannot see. The results show a case that was fought largely in secret except for trial which was mostly open. Approximately 34% of the 1,697 of the filings listed in the PACER docket were filed under seal. This includes many of the key filings and court decisions. Moreover, the large majority of these secrets filings were made without any judicial oversight. It may be that the court simply did not have the resources to review all the applications to seal in this massive case. But regardless of the cause, this case highlights a recurring problem in patent litigation; the rampant sealing of documents of significant importance to the public.
The project is on Twitter at @FreeLawProject
Here is the description:
Free Law Project is a California non-profit public benefit corporation whose specific purposes are primarily:
- to provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes to the benefit of the general public and the public interest;
- to develop, implement, and provide public access to technologies useful for legal research;
- to create an open ecosystem for legal research and materials;
- to support academic research on related technologies, corpora, and legal systems; and
- to carry on other charitable activities associated with these purposes, including, but not limited to, publications, meetings, conferences, trainings, educational seminars, and the issuance of grants and other financial support to educational institutions, foundations, and other organizations exclusively for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes as allowed by law.
Free Law Project is pursuing recognition as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Current activities of Free Law Project are as follows:
We seek to collect and freely distribute online all United States court opinions, both state and federal, both historical and current. Our collection of current opinions is accomplished through our Juriscraper project. Online distribution of the opinions occurs through our CourtListener project.
We develop technologies for use in legal research, such as a daily alerting service, advanced search capabilities, and a citator. These tools are deployed at CourtListener.
We collaborate with others with similar goals and license all the software we develop under free software licenses. Source code is available for both Juriscraper and CourtListener.
We support academic research on search technologies and provide free bulk downloads of our entire corpus for use in academic research or for any other purpose.
We lead workshops, present at conferences, and hold other events to educate others about our work, how to get involved, and the underlying challenges facing the free acces to law movement.
The Co-Founders of Free Law Project:
Michael Lissner is a co-founder of Free Law Project and lead developer of its software projects, CourtListener and Juriscraper. He graduated from UC Berkeley’s School of Information and is passionate about bringing greater access to primary legal materials, about how technology can replace old legal models, and about open source, community-driven approaches to legal research.
Brian W. Carver is a co-founder of Free Law Project and Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information where he does research on and teaches about intellectual property law and cyberlaw. He is also passionate about the public’s access to the law. In 2009 and 2010 he advised Michael Lissner on the creation of CourtListener. After Michael’s graduation he and Brian continued working on the site and have grown the database of opinions to include over 900,000 documents. In 2011 and 2012, Brian advised I School Masters students Rowyn McDonald and Karen Rustad on the creation of a legal citator built on the CourtListener database. During 2012 and 2013 he collaborated with computer scientists at UC Santa Cruz on the enhancement of the search capabilities of CourtListener. [...]
Jenna Becker Kane of Temple University presented a paper entitled Measuring the Influence of Amici in State Supreme Courts, at APSA 2013.
Here is the abstract:
Despite well documented proof that both the number and diversity of amicus participation in state high courts has been growing, little progress has been made in determining whether or not amicus briefs influence state court outcomes or the mechanism through which this influence is exerted. By utilizing an original dataset of amicus briefs filed in all products liability cases across the fifty states from 1995-2010, this paper offers the first comprehensive analysis of amicus influence on state supreme court decision making. Capitalizing on cross-state comparisons, this paper explores existing theories of amicus influence on court outcomes while also exploring how this influence is conditioned by institutional design across states – specifically, differing methods of judicial retention. Products liability cases offer a unique opportunity to examine the effects of third-party amicus briefs on the decision-making of state high courts because the two groups that are attributed with igniting the explosion in judicial campaign spending –- pro-business groups and plaintiffs’ lawyers groups –- often participate as amicus curiae. Using this set of cases, this paper finds that amicus brief influence is conditioned by court structure such that judges are more responsive to their ideological allies in courts where judges are free from electoral pressure. However, where courts are exposed to electoral pressures, amici influence encourages courts to render decisions that run counter to constituent ideology in favor of moneyed, corporate interests.