IIT Kharagpur researchers develop AI method for reading legal case judgments

Researchers from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kharagpur have evolved an AI-aided method to automate the reading of legal case judgments.

AI and legal case judgment

The researchers have developed two deep neural models to understand the rhetorical roles of sentences in a legal case judgment. This could be phenomenal in India where AI is yet to sufficiently penetrate the legal field.

How can this be useful in India?

The country uses a Common Law system that prioritizes the doctrine of legal precedent over statutory law, and where legal documents are often written in an unstructured way.

“Taking 50 judgments from the Supreme Court of India, we segmented these by first labelling sentences with the help of three senior law students from IIT Kharagpur’s Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, then performing extensive analysis of the human-assigned labels and developing a high-quality gold standard corpus to train the machine to carry out the task,” explained research lead Prof. Saptarshi Ghosh from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

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Unlike earlier attempts which required substantial human intervention, the neural methods used by Prof. Ghosh’s team automatically learn the features, given a sufficient amount of data, and can be used across multiple legal domains. This AI-powered method would enable automated understanding of the roles of sentences in a legal case judgment, which is important as it can help in several downstream tasks such as summarization of legal judgments, legal search, case law analysis, and other functions.

AI used in legal sector worldwide

In countries such as USA, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Australia, Artificial Intelligence is being used to perform legal research, review documents during litigation and conduct due diligence, analyse contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, and to even predict case outcomes.

Research behind the project

Ghosh’s research scholar Paheli Bhattacharya is using the network and text analysis to understand if two legal documents are similar. Among the other researchers are Ghosh’s another research scholar Shounak Paul, as well as Dr Kripabandhu Ghosh from the Tata Research Development and Design Centre, Pune, and Dr Adam Wyner from Swansea University, United Kingdom.

“We are trying to build an AI system which can give guidance to the common man about which laws are being violated in a given situation, or if there is merit in taking a particular situation to court, so that legal costs can be minimized,” added Prof. Ghosh.

A paper published on this research won the prestigious ‘Best Paper Award’ at JURIX 2019, the International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, at Madrid. The project is being supported by the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, under the project, ‘NYAYA: A Legal Assistance System for Legal Experts and the Common Man in India’.

Courtesy: India Today

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