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How are Next-Gen Technologies Like Blockchain and AI Transforming the Field of Law





Abstract: This blog aims to provide a comprehensive overview appurtenant to the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies in the field of law and its present-day scenario. This blog provides a legal perspective and throws light on advanced technologies that could help in promulgating new laws, possible modifications in existing laws and help lawyers gain a competitive edge.



Integration of Blockchain and AI:


Blockchain is the most hyped technology in the history of technologies. It is a public registry of who owns what and who transacts what. The transactions are connected through ‘Cryptography’. Cryptography is a technique of securing information and communications through the use of codes so that only those persons for whom the information is intended can understand it and process it. Over time, the transaction history gets locked in blocks of data that are then cryptographically linked together and secured. This creates an immutable, un-forgeable record of all transactions across the network. In simpler terms, a blockchain is a distributed, decentralised immutable ledger used to store encrypted data. On the other hand, AI is the brain that will enable analytics and decision making from all the information accrued. AI and Blockchain are proving to be quite a winning pair improving virtually every industry in which they’re implemented. It goes without saying that each technology has its individual degree of complexity but both are in situations where they can benefit from each other.[1] The convergence of AI in Blockchain creates perhaps what is the world’s most reliable technology enabling, a virtually tamper-proof, decision-making system.

Blockchain in Legal Practice:

Blockchain Technology has multifaceted capabilities that can be put to use in legal practice, in fact, the Supreme Court of China has passed laws making Blockchain records admissible in Courts. One of the many branches of Blockchains include ‘Smart Contracts’ which is a computer code. The contract terms are written in the code itself. Smart contracts interpret and verify every transaction against the terms and automatically executes them. This process eliminates the chance of non-performance as it is self-executing and non-repudiating. Since the performance is now mandated by technology, parties will not experience a breach of contracts leading to court disputes.

Public vs Private Blockchain:

Public Blockchain is completely open with no sense of authority and anyone can join and participate in the network for free. Any Blockchain developer can make it available with few warranties & representations but with abundant disclaimers. The key documents to look at in a Public Blockchain configuration are the Governance Framework underpinning the network, Ad-hoc documents and Non- Disclosure Agreements. Usually, these documents are disparate and therefore not very clean. Against this background in case of a Private Blockchain, clients have more control in terms of who joins the network. The key agreement is the Software Development Agreement between the Blockchain Developer and the client. The majority of cases, by far, could very well use a public blockchain and need not require the restricted access of a private blockchain. The premise of decentralization in offering strong features of transparency, security, and cost-efficiency is the main goal of Blockchain Technology. In some other cases, a hybrid solution consisting of a combination of private and public blockchain can also represent viable solutions for businesses or consortiums. [2] In the end, the choice of whether to use a public or private blockchain for businesses lies with each organization that utilizes it.

AI in Legal Practice:

The legal profession is highly driven by analysis, decision making, and representation which cannot be automated. AI-based software and programs can reduce a lawyer’s time and effort considerably and can help the lawyers and firms give a more authentic and result oriented suggestion to their clients.[3] The legal industry is still developing in India and looking forward to more AI-based and automated assisting tools and software. Here are some examples of the AI-based software used by Legal Practitioners all over the globe :

1. Kira Systems – Kira Systems asserts that its software is capable of performing a very accurate due diligence contract review by searching, highlighting, and extracting relevant content for analysis even-though it takes human-level cognition to read through a contract.

2. Everlaw – Everlaw is taking eDiscovery to the next level, with an integrated platform designed to review thousands of documents and pick a pattern that one decides to feed in it enabling us to determine as to what is relevant and what is not. This platform does much more than just simplify standard eDiscovery it helps us handle complex file types, get more insights out of our data, and then use that information advantageously.

3. Casemine – Casemine is a Legal AI start-up based in India. It is a powered legal information retrieval system catering to mostly a litigation focused audience. While basic keyword-based legal information retrieval systems have been around for quite some time, what differentiates Casemine from these systems is context-based retrieval of information. One can use entire passages and briefs and any other legal document as input and AI is capable of understanding the legal concepts presented and is then able to retrieve other documents with similar legal concepts.[4]


India is undergoing a gradual metamorphosis:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on the 4th of March, 2020 ruled against a decision imposed by the Reserve Bank of India vide its circular dated 6th April, 2018 that stifled Crypto trading in India. Crypto trading is a type of trading wherein one cryptocurrency is exchanged for another which includes buying and selling of coins and exchanging fiat money into crypto. Regulated entities that were already providing such services were told to exit the relationship within three months.[5] However, the court found such a ban to be ambiguous, without the backing of any sort of reasoning and hence it was quashed. This could prove to be a welcome move for cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology across India. The legal profession is highly driven by analysis, stratification and decision making which cannot be completely automated however AI can reduce a lawyers’ time and effort and allow them to give a more result-oriented suggestion to their clients. AI can take care of menial jobs instead, allowing lawyers to completely focus on the job at hand. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that the use of AI in courts would be limited to the case and data management and not decision-making. He had also given the example of the landmark Ayodhya case, where they had thousands of documents, which became simpler to decipher and formulate with the help of artificial intelligence. “However, there is no thought of substituting the judicial decision-making process of the human-mind ” he had added.[6]


Conclusive remarks:

In my opinion, the confluence of Blockchain Technology and AI is a major game-changer creating a whole new set of risks and opportunities in a legal environment. These technologies will underpin innovation in the legal field in increasingly rapid evolution. Much like how email changed the way we do business every day, AI will become ubiquitous – an indispensable assistant to practically every lawyer. It is pertinent to acknowledge the fact that it is imperative for lawyers to learn and understand advanced technologies, law firms are turning to smart, tech-savvy thinkers to lead the way. Getting a firm grasp on AI now, while it’s in its relatively early days, will give a lawyer the leg up when its implementation becomes the norm.

[1] Blockchain and AI: a perfect match? https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/technology/artificial-intelligence/blockchain-and-ai-a-perfect-match/

[2] Public vs Private Blockchain https://masterthecrypto.com/public-vs-private-blockchain-whats-the-difference/

[3] Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Indian Legal Systemhttp://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-631-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-indian-legal-system.html

[4] Meet India’s Casemine, Shaking Up the Legal AI Case Analysis Market –https://www.artificiallawyer.com/2018/02/15/meet-indias-casemine-shaking-up-the-legal-ai-case-analysis-market/

[5] SC allows trade in cryptocurrency quashes RBI curb – https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/sc-allows-trade-in-cryptocurrency-quashes-rbi-curb-on-use/articleshow/74470078.cms

[6] CJI BOBDE SAYS AI WILL NOT BE USED FOR DECISION-MAKING IN SUPREME COURT, BUT FOR CASE MANAGEMENT – https://analyticsindiamag.com/cji-bobde-says-ai-will-not-be-used-for-decision-making-in-supreme-court-but-for-case-management/

Author Details: Vidisha Poonja

The views of the author are personal only. (if any)


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