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Technology and the Law Policy Commission evidence sessions

The commission held three public sessions where our commissioners took oral evidence from experts on the topic of algorithms in the justice system.

We also called for written evidence from all interested parties. 

We were looking to hear from practitioners, academics, tech professionals, civil liberties organisations, companies that make algorithms, public bodies that use them, and anyone who has an interest in technology, the rule of law and human rights.

Watch highlights from the evidence sessions:

 

London session one

Session 1 was held on 25 July 2018 at the Law Society in London.

Guest commissioner Andrea Coomber, director of Justice, joined the Commission for this session, which concerned the current state of algorithms in the justice system and what is on the horizon.

The witnesses the commissioners heard were:

  • Dr Reuben Binns, Dr Nikos Aletras and Michael Veale
  • Professor Burkhard Schafer and Professor Lilian Edwards
  • Dr Ricardo Silva, Professor Lorna McGregor and Alexander Babuta
  • Roger Bickerstaff and Professor David Hand OBE
  • Chief Constable Michael Barton

Download a summary of the written evidence submitted by the witnesses (PDF 2mb)

Listen to the audio recording of the session:

Listen to "Technology and the Law Policy Commission evidence session 1 on the state of algorithms in the justice system" on Spreaker.

Watch the videos from the evidence session:

 

London session two

Session 2 was held on 12 November 2018 at the Law Society in London.

Guest commissioner Sir William Blair, chair of financial law and ethics at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, joined the Commission for this session, which concerned the state of play regarding the making, sale and use of algorithms in the justice system in England and Wales.

Witnesses included:

  • Marion Oswald, Winchester University
  • Matthew Lavy, 4 Pump Court
  • Professor Karen Yeung, Birmingham University
  • Dr Adrian Weller, Alan Turing Institute
  • Simon Burall, Involve
  • Ed Byrd and Gideon Cohen, Solomonic
  • Sue Daley, techUK
  • Guy Cohen, Privitar
  • Dr Hannah Knox, UCL
  • Alesis Novik, AimBrain
  • Nikita Malik, Henry Jackson Society
  • Dr Vicky Kemp, University of Nottingham
  • Lord Clement Jones, Chair of AI Committee at DLA Piper
 

Download a summary of the written evidence submitted by the witnesses (PDF 1mb)

Watch the videos from the evidence session:

 

Wales session

The Wales session was held on 7 February 2019 at the Law Society offices in Cardiff. This session focused on the use of algorithms by police forces in Wales.

This session asked interested parties about the ethics of algorithms in the justice system:

  • Can we create an algorithm that is 'ethical-by-design'? What does this mean?
  • How can we ensure data used in algorithms within the justice system is ethical, free from bias, and fairly collected?
  • How can we review/disclose decisions made by the algorithm?
  • Are the decisions made by the algorithm advisory?
  • Who owns the algorithm and the data analysed?
  • What are the post-implementation oversight mechanisms to identify bias?
  • Can the accuracy of the algorithm be validated regularly?
  • Which processes in the legal system can be replaced by algorithms?
  • Are there any no-go areas?
  • What framework is needed, if any, around the use of algorithms in the justice system?

Witnesses included:

  • Inspector Scott Lloyd, South Wales police
  • Dr Adam Wyner, Swansea University
  • Professor Martin Innes, Cardiff University
  • Adam Curtis, Hoowla
  • Sharan Johnstone, University of South Wales
  • Mike Edwards, University of South Wales
  • Dr Bernadette Rainey, Cardiff University
  • Karl Foster, Blake Morgan
  • Huw Bowden, Bowden Jones
  • Emma Erskine-Fox, TLT Solicitors

London session three

Session 3 was held on 14 February 2019 at the Law Society in London. This session focused on what controls, if any, are needed to protect human rights and trust in the justice system.

This session asked interested parties about the ethics of algorithms in the justice system:

  • Can we create an algorithm that is 'ethical-by-design'? What does this mean?
  • How can we ensure data used in algorithms within the justice system is ethical, free from bias, and fairly collected?
  • How can we review/disclose decisions made by the algorithm?
  • Are the decisions made by the algorithm advisory?
  • Who owns the algorithm and the data analysed?
  • What are the post-implementation oversight mechanisms to identify bias?
  • Can the accuracy of the algorithm be validated regularly?
  • Which processes in the legal system can be replaced by algorithms?
  • Are there any no-go areas?
  • What framework is needed, if any, around the use of algorithms in the justice system?

Witnesses included:

  • Professor Richard Susskind OBE
  • Jamie Susskind, Littleton Chambers
  • Alvin Carpio, Fourth Group
  • Professor Ioannis Lianos, University College London
  • Dr Vicky Kemp, Nottingham University
  • Dr Hannah Knox, University College London
  • Silkie Carlo, Big Brother Watch
  • Jacob Turner, barrister and author of Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence
  • Peter Wells, Open Data Institute
  • David Powell, Hampshire Police
  • Judith Jones, Information Commissioner's Office
  • Hannah Couchman, Liberty
  • Dr Jiri Novak, chair of the IT Law Committee of the CCBE
  • Professor William Wong, Middlesex University
  • Catherine Miller, Dot Everyone
  • Clementina Barbaro, Council of Europe
  • Stephane Leyenberger, Council of Europe
  • Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection supervisor

Watch the videos from the evidence session:

 

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