Delving into the Heart of British Justiciary

Secretary-General Heru Setiawan and the Constitutional Court delegation visiting the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) on Wednesday (6/26/2024) in London. Photo by MKRI.

LONDON (MKRI) – On Wednesday morning, June 26, 2024, the delegation of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia (MKRI), led by the Secretary-General of the Constitutional Court, Heru Setiawan, visited the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) and the Ministry of Justice of the United Kingdom. Similar to their visits to the Supreme Court of Scotland and the School of Law at the University of Leeds, this visit aimed to conduct a comparative study specifically on the justice support unit and explore cooperation between the two institutions.

Heru was accompanied by the First Secretary for Political Affairs, Andaru Dhaniswara, and a political staff member, Mada. The first theme of the comparative study at the Supreme Court focused on the role of the registrar’s office as a justice support unit. Laura Angus, registrar of the Supreme Court, who welcomed the MKRI delegation, explained that the UKSC has 12 justices. However, the number of justices presiding over a case is always odd to avoid deadlocks in decision-making through voting.

Laura Angus explained that the UKSC accommodates dissenting opinions among justices in decision-making. One justice is appointed as the drafter, and the draft agreed upon by the panel is handed over to the registrar for detailed review—without influencing the content of the decision—before the decision is announced and published.

Established in 2009, the UKSC is the highest appellate court for civil cases in all parts of the UK and the highest appellate court for criminal cases in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland, however, has an agreement to handle its criminal cases within its own Supreme Court.

The UKSC receives hundreds of petitions each year. However, many do not proceed due to improper submissions, meaning many petitioners do not understand the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. Besides jurisdiction issues, petitioners will not be reviewed by justices if they miss the submission deadline, 28 days from the appellate decision.

Hearings and Information Technology at the Supreme Court

Laura Angus stated that, on average, the UKSC holds around one hundred examination hearings a year. As mentioned, cases that do not meet the requirements are not examined in hearings. Meanwhile, cases that are granted permission because they meet the requirements will certainly be examined in hearings.

Responding to the MKRI delegation's questions about case costs and the role of technology in hearings, Laura Angus explained that the appellate court process is subject to fees, although they are relatively small. However, certain cases may be exempted or free of charge.

Continuing Laura Angus' explanation, Ghazi, the IT Supervisor at the UKSC, explained that IT is used for two purposes. First, IT is used to build a case management system. Second, IT is used to conduct hybrid hearings, combining face-to-face and virtual or online hearings, a system developed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Ghazi, the UKSC has an IT Department with five civil servant employees. To meet court needs, this department can hire IT professionals from the private sector. Regarding judicial digitalization, Ghazi explained that the Supreme Court implements digitalization. However, this does not mean the Court "never uses paper," as evidenced by the two-floor library's book collection, which still retains paper books.

A digital breakthrough made by the IT Department is interconnecting all applications at UKSC, so data is inputted only once and can be used for multiple applications or needs. According to Gazi, this saves a lot of data storage space.

Commercial Court

After meeting with the UKSC officials, the MKRI delegation moved to the Ministry of Justice to have an audience with the Commercial Court. Justice Robin Knowles, a Justice of the Commercial Court at the High Court of England and Wales, welcomed the delegation.

Before Robin Knowles and several Commercial Court staff, Secretary-General Heru Setiawan introduced the members of the MKRI delegation and explained that the visit aimed to conduct a comparative study on the use of technology in the judiciary, especially IT and AI. The MKRI delegation members included the Head of the Planning and Finance Bureau Tatang Garjito, Constitutional Registrar Mardian Wibowo, Muhammad Halim, and Donny Yuniarto and Rizki Kurnia Chesario as translators.

Welcoming the MKRI delegation, Robin Knowles explained that courts must understand technology. For this reason, the Commercial Court and similar courts from 50 countries formed the Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts (SIFoCC), sharing knowledge and experience on technology use and solving legal cases related to technology. For instance, finding legal solutions for business decision errors made by AI instead of humans.

According to him, courts must always present good justices, lawyers, and court employees. This is a significant challenge. Therefore, AI is applied to assist. Additionally, technology aims to facilitate court access, especially for financially constrained people, such as by building a case management system.

Heru Setiawan asked Knowles about the morality of AI technology if it is positioned as a determinant of human fate, while AI analysis is independent and cannot be intervened by humans. In response, Knowles emphasized that AI or IT must remain controlled by humans. AI is never left to handle court cases independently. AI is positioned as an assistant tool for justices to resolve cases. The role of human justices in making decisions is absolutely necessary to maintain trust among justice seekers.

In the Commercial Court, AI technology is used to review documents, including searching or identifying their contents and the information written in them. Justices also use AI to conduct certain research that court staff cannot handle due to time constraints.

Robin Knowles concluded his presentation with the conclusion that law or courts can help or support the development of AI, and on the other hand AI can help law enforcement. The note is that the use of AI must be fully under human control. (*)

Author              : RKC/DY/MH/MW
Editor               : Lulu Anjarsari P.
Translators       : Intana Selvira Fauzi/Rizky Kurnia Chaesario (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Thursday, July 04, 2024 | 09:46 WIB 19