Judge, Jury, and EXEcute File: The brave new world of legal automation

Developments in technology mean we are moving apace toward the automation of legal services, including contract reading and drafting, legal research, and even the ability to predict the decisions of judges and juries. Meanwhile, criminal justice agencies in both the United States and China have begun experimenting with automated decision-making, for example for choosing whether to release defendants on bail.

These are extraordinary trends, presenting both promise and pitfall. In this presentation, Professor Elliott Ash discussed active research on models for judges and prosecutors which can predict decisions, and describe how they might be used to detect and reduce bias in legal decision-making. He also discussed the substantial risks for these models, including the risk of replicating existing biases, or creating new ones. Join us for this timely and interactive discussion during which Professor Ash outlined the way technology is changing the future of legal decision-making, and shared his view on the implications for the justice sector in the UK and further afield.


Professor Elliott Ash, Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Warwick

Chair: James Kirkup, Director, SMF

About the Speaker:
Elliott Ash is Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Warwick, where he teaches political economy and public finance. Elliott’s research focuses on empirical analysis of the law and legal system using techniques from applied microeconometrics, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Elliott was previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. He received a PhD in economics and JD from Columbia University, a BA in economics, government, and philosophy from University of Texas at Austin, and an LLM in international criminal law from University of Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, Elliott has provided expert witness testimony for the Department of Justice Civil Rights investigation into discriminatory practices at Ferguson Police Department. He also plays drums in The Free Rides, a rock band based in New York.


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