What Future for Human Rights? Decision-making by algorithm

Veronika Fikfak is an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, where she is leading the ERC Project Human Rights Nudge team (ERC 803891), which looks at how and when states change their behaviour in response to ECtHR judgments. We use computational methods to analyse large datasets of ECtHR case law and follow up processes before the Committee of Ministers. We then apply behavioural insights to understand behaviour of individuals, institutions and states.

The President of the European Court of Human Rights, Robert Spano, recently announced that the Court was looking into introducing algorithmic decision-making to help with new applications coming to the Court. In a speech to the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Spano said:

We have throughout the last decade been introducing reforms and one of them, certainly, is the use of information technology. We are now in a phase where we are looking at to what extent we can, for example, at the registration phase introduce algorithmic or automated decision making so as to try and reduce the extent to which this classical registration phase has to all be done manually. … When it is done, we can use the data introduced into the system in a more effective manner. But I do think moving to the future a mass, a bulk case court like ours will slowly start introducing algorithmic tools to facilitate its tasks.

(see min. 16 and onwards)
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