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Computer predicts court decisions

UG develops online application Juri Says to continuously predict decisions of the European Court of Human Rights
08 December 2020

Researchers from the University of Groningen will launch the online application Juri Says at the virtual JURIX 2020 conference, on 10 December. Using artificial intelligence, Juri predicts judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Over the past year, Juri predicted 73% of the verdicts correctly. Every month Juri learns from its mistakes and tries to improve its performance.

Prediction based on summary of facts

Juri Says was built by a team of lawyers and computational linguists. PhD student Masha Medvedeva works at both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Law: "This online application is truly unique. Juri bases its predictions on summaries of facts that become available years before the verdicts are made, so it is able to forecast future decisions. The information in these summaries appears to be sufficient to reasonably predict what the Court will decide."

No replacement for judges

The team emphasizes that this system is not there to replace judges. Prof. Michel Vols (Faculty of Law): “Predicting court decisions is not the same as making court decisions. While Juri Says does indicate which sentences and facts are important for making the prediction, it is not always clear why it chooses those particular sentences, and they don’t always have to be legally relevant. A computer program is not a human being."

Unique collaboration between two completely different fields of science

Juri Says is the result of a close collaboration between two completely different fields of science. The team consists of professor Martijn Wieling (Faculty of Arts), professor Michel Vols (Faculty of Law), PhD student Masha Medvedeva and research master student Xiao Xu. Wieling: "This interdisciplinary project is made possible by the Young Academy Groningen. By combining the knowledge from the legal discipline with the knowledge from computational linguistics, we operate at the forefront of this scientific field worldwide. “

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Last modified:08 December 2020 11.12 a.m.
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