> Publications > China Social Science Review > 2021 > no.1(March 2021)

Between Law and Science and Technology: Smart Courts and the Future of Justice

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China Social Science Review

No.1, 2021

 

Between Law and Science and Technology: Smart Courts and the Future of Justice (Abstract)

 

Zheng Ge

 

Although online dispute resolution and online courts are a global phenomenon, China is unique in building a smart courtsystem. China's smart courts are part of the country's overall strategy to modernize information technology and national governance. Courts adoption of advanced ICT is not an initiative taken by the courts themselves, but rather the result of a strong policy pushed by the Party and the government. In terms of their character, on the one hand, information technology, including AI, has not changed the bureaucratic management of the courts but rather strengthened their management by precise allocation of judicial resources and optimization of performance evaluation. On the other, intelligent technologies have strengthened the formal character of judicial decisions through efficient and accurate case retrieval, case throughput and case comparison, not in terms of legal argument, but statistical laws. On the whole, the experience of building Chinas smart courts demonstrates the profound interaction between law and science and technology. Where science and technology will take the law depends on our thinking on some fundamental legal issues and the choices we make based on that thinking.