The Committee seeks to explore the use of new technologies in the application of the law and the experience of people currently or previously engaged with them.
New technologies include but are not limited to: machine-learning approaches; advanced algorithmic tools; artificial intelligence; and semi-autonomous or autonomous devices or systems. Application of the law includes activities to enforce, discover, deter, rehabilitate, or punish people who breach the law in a variety of contexts, as well as the prediction and prevention of future breaches.
Over the course of its inquiry, the Committee will notably discuss the existing legal and governance framework around the development and use of these new technologies, ethical issues raised by their use in the application of the law, as well as the lived experiences of end-users and citizens interacting with them. While the geographical scope of the inquiry is necessarily limited to England and Wales, the Committee also welcomes contributions related to the use of new technologies in the application of the law in devolved jurisdictions and overseas.
The Committee would like to hear from individuals and organisations with an interest, experience, or expertise in the use of new technologies in the application of the law. This is an open call for evidence and the Committee is also keen to hear from members of the public. Please bring it to the attention of anyone you know who might be interested.
Respondents are welcome to answer any or all of the questions set out below. Respondents are equally welcome to flag the importance of other issues related to the inquiry that are not covered in the questions below but which they think the Committee should consider in its work. The Committee is looking for pragmatic approaches to the issues presented by new technologies in the application of the law, so please provide practical examples where possible.
1.Do you know of technologies being used in the application of the law? Where? By whom? For what purpose?
2.What should new technologies used for the application of the law aim to achieve? In what instances is it acceptable for them to be used? Do these technologies work for their intended purposes, and are these purposes sufficiently understood?
3.Do new technologies used in the application of the law produce reliable outputs, and consistently so? How far do those who interact with these technologies (such as police officers, members of the judiciary, lawyers, and members of the public) understand how they work and how they should be used?
4.How do technologies impact upon the rule of law and trust in the rule of law and its application? Your answer could refer, for example, to issues of equality. How could any negative impacts be mitigated?
5.With regards to the use of these technologies, what costs could arise? Do the benefits outweigh these costs? Are safeguards needed to ensure that technologies cannot be used to serve purposes incompatible with a democratic society?
6.What mechanisms should be introduced to monitor the deployment of new technologies? How can their performance be evaluated prior to deployment and while in use? Who should be accountable for the use of new technologies, and what accountability arrangements should be in place? What governance and oversight mechanisms should be in place?
7.How far does the existing legal framework around new technologies used in the application of the law support their ethical and effective use, now and in the future? What (if any) new legislation is required? How appropriate are current legal frameworks?
8.How can transparency be ensured when it comes to the use of these technologies, including regarding how they are purchased, how their results are interpreted, and in what ways they are used?
9.Are there relevant examples of good practices and lessons learnt from other fields or jurisdictions which should be considered?
10.This Committee aims to establish some guiding principles for the use of technologies in the application of the law. What principles would you recommend?