Malaysia AI court sentencing

April 2022

Lawyers in Malaysia are publicly expressing their concerns about the trial use of artificial intelligence in the country's legal system, saying it is inaccurate, recommends unfair sentences, and may be racially biased.

Developed by Sarawak Information Systems, the nationwide pilot aimed to make sentencing more consistent and help clear the backlog of cases clogging Malaysia's legal system, according to Reuters.

However, senior lawyers say the 'opaque' system lacks a judge's ability to weigh up individual circumstances, or adapt to changing social mores, and should be withdrawn.

Furthermore, lawyers say that there was no proper consultation on the technology's use. Malaysia's Bar Council said it was 'not given guidelines at all' when courts in Kuala Lumpur started using the system mid-2021 for sentencing in 20 types of crimes.

Other countries are also experimenting using AI in sentencing.

China has developed an AI prosecutor which is able to charge people with eight common crimes, including fraud, theft, dangerous driving, obstructing official duties and 'provoking trouble'.

Operator: Mahkamah Persekutuan Malaysia
Developer:
Sarawak Information Systems (SAINS)
Country:
Malaysia
Sector:
Govt - justice
Purpose:
Achieve greater sentencing consistency
Technology:
Predictive statistical analysis
Issue:
Accuracy/reliability; Fairness; Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity
Opacity:
Governance; Black box

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