Canadian judge brings artificial intelligence insights to School of Advanced Study

Thursday 8 February 2018

Justice David Masuhara, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, joins the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) this month as its 2017–18 Inns of Court Fellow. During his tenure at the institute, a member of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, he will focus on the advances in artificial intelligence and its impact on the future of the judiciary and the judicial function.

For most of his career, Justice Masuhara has been involved in information technology matters for his court including various initiatives to move the court system to digital platforms and reviewing technology policies. British Columbia has been progressive in adopting online dispute resolution processes for small civil claims and strata disputes; and the electronic receipt of uncontested divorce applications, estate applications, pleadings, motions, affidavits and digital court orders.

Over this period, he has noted “‘intelligent’ machines have overtaken humans in complex gaming scenarios. Predictive algorithms arising from large data have been developed in a growing number of areas, including the field of law.” These developments pose opportunities for the justice system which at the same time necessitate a serious exploration of AI implications for the administration of justice. 

Justice Masuhara’s exploration has included a survey of over 130 members of the Canadian judiciary inquiring into various aspects of AI to assist in his review as to the receptiveness, sensitivities and concerns from a judicial perspective.

While at IALS Justice Masuhara, a graduate of the Sauder School of Business and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, will also deliver an evening presentation on his research on 6 March, 7.30pm.

Jules Winterton, IALS director, said “The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is delighted to host Justice Masuhara as the Inns of Court Fellow for 2017–18 and welcome him to our research community. The Inns of Court, which kindly support this Fellowship, will also welcome Justice Masuhara, and value his research in matters of increasing importance for the administration of justice.

“The institute with its international networks among scholars and legal practitioners and its ongoing concerns to foster and promote comparative legal research is a very suitable home for the Fellowship. As the host of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, IALS Digital, and its Information Law and Policy Centre (ILPC), IALS has a profound interest in Justice Masuhara’s research and its implications for legal systems.”

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Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London. maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk / 020 7862 8859. Images available on request.

2. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) supports and leads legal research in its broadest sense, both nationally and internationally. Founded in 1947, it houses specialist research centres and innovative partnerships and is home to an active community of researchers, fellows, and postgraduate students. It promotes new research agenda in specialist and interdisciplinary areas of law with direct effect on policy and practice. It provides research training and online services, a meeting place for organisations and legal scholars from around the globe, one of the world’s great legal research libraries, and a busy programme of seminars and public events. www.ials.sas.ac.uk

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled resources, facilities and academic opportunities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. Last year SAS welcomed 786 research fellows and associates, held 2,007 events highlighting the latest research in the humanities, received 24.4 million online visits to its research resources and platforms, and hosted 194,145 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads Being Human, the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities. Find out more at www.sas.ac.uk or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. Its members are 18 self-governing member institutions and nine research institutes of outstanding reputation. Learn more about the University of London at http://www.london.ac.uk.