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Media Release: Supreme Court of Singapore and Supreme Court of India hold inaugural Singapore-India Conference on Technology

Supreme Court of Singapore and Supreme Court of India hold inaugural Singapore-India Conference on Technology

The Supreme Court of Singapore and the Supreme Court of India organised the inaugural Singapore-India Conference on Technology on 13 and 14 April 2024 in New Delhi, India. The conference brought together not just judges from the two judiciaries, but also facilitated dialogue with experts in technology and its growing interface with justice systems. The idea of a conference on cutting-edge legal issues was mooted by The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon of Singapore and the Chief Justice of India, The Honourable Dr Justice D Y Chandrachud.

Keynote Speech by Chief Justice Menon

2           Chief Justice Menon delivered the Keynote Speech titled “Judicial Responsibility in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”. In his speech, Chief Justice Menon noted that developments in generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) have reshaped conversations about what the societies and systems of the future will look like, and that the courts stand on the cusp of seismic shifts that will affect our justice systems.  Chief Justice Menon said that the courts must be guided above all by the goal of preserving and strengthening the rule of law. This goal should guide how the judiciaries discharge their traditional adjudicative role and systemic role, which is emerging with rapid and growing significance to ensure that the rule of law is not displaced by the “rule of technology” in this age of AI.

3           Chief Justice Menon suggested that the possibility of “AI judges” replacing human judges is a distant, even remote one. He said that, given the weight and implications of many of the decisions judges make, there are aspects of both the process and the outcomes of judging that, at least in certain fields, AI should not replace. However, the role of the human judge needs to evolve. Beyond cultivating technological expertise in using AI tools, judges must also remain committed to their professional duties and their ethical responsibilities to exercise judgment in managing both the process and the outcomes of judging in each case. The efforts of individual judges should be complemented by systemic initiatives undertaken by the judiciaries. There is an urgent need to develop robust AI governance frameworks and guidelines to regulate the use of AI in litigation and adjudication.

Discussion on the impact of technology on the justice system

4           Domain experts in the field of artificial intelligence and its impact on the justice system were invited to speak at the conference, which may take place periodically, alternating between India and Singapore. Prof Urs Gasser1 and Prof Richard Susskind2 shared their views on the likely trajectory of the use of AI in the practice of law, potential blind spots, and important considerations for the judiciary.

5           Discussion themes that included “AI Assisting the Work of the Courts”, “AI in Judicial Training and Education”, “Harnessing AI Technology to Promote Access to Justice” and “Ethical Issues and Risk in the Use of AI” were chosen to generate discussion and new proposals to prepare judiciaries to deal with issues that will affect the administration of justice.

6           Chief Justice Menon said: “Platforms like this Conference provide invaluable opportunities for international judicial exchange. Many of the legal, ethical, and technical issues raised by AI are novel and difficult, and transcend jurisdictional boundaries. There is an enormous amount that we can learn from each other, especially as we are all driven by the same mission of maintaining the integrity of the judicial process, and of safeguarding public trust in our institutions.”

About SG Courts

The Singapore Courts – comprising the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts – is one of the three constitutional pillars of government in Singapore. Known collectively as SG Courts, we are integrated and coordinated to serve as one judiciary. As an organ of state, the judiciary’s function is to independently administer justice. Headed by the Chief Justice, we are a forward-looking, innovative and trusted judiciary. Built on judicial professionalism and transparency, we maintain the highest standards of integrity in safeguarding our community. We pledge to ensure equal and continuous access to justice, and we are committed to deliver justice that is fair and impartial.

Issued by: SG Courts

(1) Dr Urs Gasser is Professor of Public Policy, Governance, and Innovative Technology at the University of Munich (TUM), where he serves as Dean of the TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, and Rector of the Munich School of Politics and Public Policy. He co-leads the TUM Generative AI Task Force and founded the Quantum Social Lab at the TUM Think Tank. Before joining TUM, Dr Gasser was Executive Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. He served on Angela Merkel's Digital Council, the Colombian President's Commission of Experts on AI, and is currently Chair of Thailand's International Policy Advisory Panel on AI. He is also a member of the WEF Resilient Governance and Regulation Working Group, and the UNSECO High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on the implementation of AI recommendations, among other committees. Together with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, he is the author of Guardrails: Guiding Human Decisions in the Age of AI (Princeton University Press, March 2024).

(2) Prof Richard Susskind OBE KC (Hon) is the President of the Society for Computers and Law and, from 1998 to 2023, was Technology Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He has written ten books, including Online Courts and the Future of Justice (2015, 2021). He has contributed more than 150 columns to The Times of London and his work has been translated into 18 languages. He has been invited to speak in more than 60 countries. He is the world’s most cited author on the future of legal services. He chaired the Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group of the Civil Justice Council, which first introduced the idea of online courts to the English court system. He wrote his PhD on AI and the law at Oxford in the early/mid 1980s and co-developed the world’s first commercial AI system for lawyers. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the British Computer Society. He is an Honorary Bencher at Gray’s Inn.


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