Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday announced that the judicial sector will be making use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to facilitate dispensation of justice.
The chief justice, while addressing judicial officers belonging to Model Criminal Trial Courts (MCTC), recounted reforms and changes that had been introduced in the judicial sector for this purpose.
In addition to the introduction of e-Courts, the chief justice said, "We are already tapping into Artificial Intelligence ─ the latest technology in the world. We have already contacted bodies that deal with AI, we held meetings [with experts] on how to use it."
He said that historical records of cases and their judgements would be uploaded to a database accessible to judges everywhere.
A state-of-the-art research centre has already been established in the Supreme Court for this purpose, the chief justice said, adding that some infrastructure has been put in place, a search engine has been installed and a few more will be installed in the near future.
Furthermore, he said, three judges and seven researchers will be going to the United States to further study the system.
The chief justice said that in the first phase, the AI system would be installed under which any judge in any location in the country would be able to input the facts of the cases they are hearing into the database and receive information about similar cases and what their judgements were.
In the next phase, judges — before deciding their cases — would be able to receive suggestions from the database on what a judgement could be. The system is meant to assess the provided facts, process the information on the basis of already available data of settled cases, before suggesting a possible decision.
"If the decision suggested by the system is different from the judge's own conclusions, at least the judge will be cautious about his verdict," he said, expressing hope that the process would encourage judges to reflect on their decisions and make better judgements using the information accessible to them.
He said that all the judges in the country would be able to access the central research centre at the apex court.
A key component of the judicial reforms is the setting up of special courts to deal with gender-based violence and juvenile cases.
The chief justice said that gender-based violence, although common across the world, was often hushed up.
"We will have 116 gender-based violence courts in the country [in near future]," he said, adding that there will be one such court almost in every district.
He said that the environment of such courts and the process of cross-examination would be more accommodating of the sensitivities of victims of gender-based violence, and that the judges in these courts would receive special training.
In juvenile courts, the atmosphere will be one that is friendly towards children ─ there will be no uniformed personnel in the courts, he said.
Talking about the e-Courts, he said that apex court judges had begun hearing cases via video link. All the cases heard this way so far have been decided, he said, adding that both lawyers and their clients were pleased with the initiative as it had drastically reduced the time and money spent on deciding such cases.