Resolving Future Disputes in a Digital Age

There are loads of interesting ideas in this lecture given to the Society for Computers and Law by Sir Geoffrey Voss, who we seem to be reporting on a lot. It’s even got a decent joke in it.

He does a really good job of capturing the tension between the human and the digital.

Speed. Will we be happy with decisions being taken by AI? Will factual disputes become a thing of the past?

“Certainly personal injury claims will look very different when every car records its every move on-chain so that there is no need to measure skid marks and no dispute as to how fast colliding vehicles were going at the moment of impact”.

That actually reminds me how I benefited some 18 months ago when an Uber driver drove into my car. He leapt out and blamed me. I disagreed. Then the car behind us rolled up and said he had recorded the whole thing on his dashcam and would forward the film to us both in the morning. He did. And it made all the difference. Technology moves on and the justice system has to keep up. No need for my word against his.

On the human cost of disputes, he makes a really good point:

“The smart systems that already drive our online digital justice system will, of course, become much smarter. As they do, the processes will speed up. This is important because the existence of lengthy personal and business disputes remains a massive drag on the economy. Individuals are less productive in their work and businesses when obsessing about disputes of any kind. The quicker they can be satisfactorily resolved, the better it is for the parties themselves and the national economy”.

All too often we underestimate this significant cost and speed of resolution must be something we need to focus on as we move forwards.

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