Many focus on limitations of artificial intelligence and barriers that it has to overcome when it comes to settling court cases while in Poland the time AI judges your case may closer than you think. After all we have a fully operational e – court in our beautiful country already. What if it is used to implement AI based solutions to replace living judges? So is the Polish e-court AI’s Trojan horse?
WHAT IS POLISH E-COURT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
It may be a huge surprise for some of you but we already have a fully functioning electronic court in Poland.
The legal framework for its actions and proceedings before the e-court are set forth in the Polish Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) and regulations stemming from CCP . However the legal foundations for the e-court are laid in Section VIII of Polish CCP entitled “Electronic Admonishment Procedure.”
The entire proceeding in front of e-court is indeed fully electronic and it ends with e-judgement either. There are not even scan of paper documents allowed.
The e- proceeding may concern only monetary claims. In addition, it is very much simplified, because you do not even include scans of documents confirming your claim (e.g. no scans of unpaid invoices or receipts). You just claim that Kowalski owes you this specific amount of money due to this or that reason and that’s it.
You file a lawsuit electronically. To do this you need to create an account on the www.e-sad.gov.pl first . If you are interested, you will find the instruction on how to do this in here but it is only in Polish. You do not need any qualified electronic signature (QES) or its Polish equivalent, which means a signature issued though ePUAP, to create your account at e-court.
Assuming that the e-court issues an electronic order for payment after you have filed your claim, if it becomes final, it will be given the electronic immediate enforceability clause.
Electronic proceedings are, in principle, conducted without the participation of the defendant, who becomes aware of the whole case only when he receives e-court’s order for payment Due to obvious reasons such a delivery of the e-court order to the defendant occurs in a traditional way: on paper though postal services. And once the defendant learns about an e-order issued against her or him, this person can lodge a statement of opposition to the order. However this is done on paper and if a statement of opposition is filed , the whole proceeding re-starts but this time in a standard, non- electronic way.
POLISH E-COURT: WHO DECIDES IN IT?
Although the whole procedure for is electronic, people keep ruling in the e-court. More specifically, the judges of the 6th Civil Court Division of The District Court of Lublin – West together with the team of judicial referees.
There are 6 e- judges in total (the seventh is currently delegated to serve at the Ministry of Justice in Warsaw), 58 local judicial referees and 47 long-distance judicial referees (these perform their duties remotely).
So the math tells us that there are 111 people in total at the e-court, according to data from the e-court website from 28.06.2020.
People. Not bots and or an artificial intelligence. Although, are these judgments and verdicts really issued really actually issued by men?
IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2019 THE POLISH E-COURT
HAS SETTLED 703 030 CASES!!!!
According to statistics coming from Polish Ministry of Justice at www.isws.gov.pl. 703 030 cases ended with substantive decisions during that 1st half of 2019 (this is the latest data available at the moment).
This means that in the first half of 2019, each of the 111 judges had to settle approximately 6333 cases!
Well, you have to admit that this is an impressive number.
After deduction of Sundays, Saturdays and Polish bank holidays we had 124 working days counting from January to the end of June in the first half of 2019. This gives 992 working hours.
If I multiply these 992 working hours by 111 and divide the result by 730 030 cases, it turns out that a person had approx. 7.5 minute to decide on each case and issue a verdict.
Of course, it’s a fiction, because in practice each person had less time. Why?
First of all, no-one works 8 hours without breaks for a bathroom, coffee or “grabbing a bite”. Secondly, Polish employment laws allow 5 minute breaks every hour if you work at a computer plus one 30-minute break which is calculated into your working time if you work more than 6 hours a day.
To sum up: I believe that if we assume that, in practice, every judge and judicial referee of the e-court has spent more than six minutes on reviewing an e-lawsuit, analyzing a case and issuing an order then this is a very optimistic assumption.
And if I tell you that, according to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, the e-court settled a total number of 1,196,293 cases in the first half of 2019 cases (yes, yes: one hundred and ninety-six thousand two hundred and ninety-three)?
This huge number includes cases which did not ended with a substantive decision.
Well, assuming that each person had to familiarize themselves with each case, they had about 5 minutes to settle one, and that’s assuming that each person worked non-stop for 8 hours a day, which is purely fictional.
IS E-JUDGMENT A FICTION OF HUMAN JUDGMENT?
Well, one needs to ask if the e-judges and e-judicial referees were actually capable to examine a case in less than 5 minutes?
I think any logically minded person will answer that’s simply impossible. None man can do it. So, in fact, this electronic procedure is already fully automated however, as the experts put it, “we are dealing with the mechanization of civil proceedings, but imperfect since done with human hands.”
So now I am asking: why not replace a human with a program or even some form of AI if this human judgement is totally fictional already?
It would be faster, more efficient, more objective and less mistakes would be made.
For God’s sake, why we should sustain this fiction of human ruling ? Why not to move towards e.g. the Estonian model of serving justice I mentioned already in one of my prior posts “AI Judge: the Future of Court Proceedings in EU?”
Maybe it’s worth thinking about it and stop clinging to the idea that court rulings can only be issued by a human being.
If a person has 3-4 minutes to get things done in practice, it is not a ruling and I find it very difficult to call it serving justice.
So is the Polish e-court AI’s a Trojan horse ?
In my opinion: yes, it is. If AI replaces a person in any proceedings in Poland, then it will be done first in the e- court .
And I shall keep my fingers crossed for that.
P.S. While Preparing this text I used, among others, the article “Electronic court and artificial intelligence in Polish law” written by Mrs. Maria Dymitruk and Prof. Jack Gołaczyński, published in a collective study entitled “Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Personal Data”,issued by Beck Publishing, Warsaw 2019.