CIArb Features

The use of tech and AI in the future of dispute resolution in London

17 Jun 2021

CIArb were proud sponsors of London International Disputes Week 2021 which took place 10-14 May 2021. Here, Juan Carlos Pinto Escobedo MCIArb and YMG Global Steering Committee Member, shares an insight into his experience of the event.


One of the most interesting panels at London International Disputes Week 2021 (LIDW) was “The use of Tech and AI in the future of Dispute Resolution in London”. Dan Wyatt opened the session, rightly mentioning that we should start caring about what’s under the bonnet of AI and technology.

London and United Kingdom are the world leading legal centre, and Artificial Intelligence and technology are one of its most remarkable areas where, in 2019, £61 million was invested in law tech.

Catherine McGuinness pointed out that nowadays geography is seemingly irrelevant due to these new ways of working and the digitalisation of legal services delivery. This area is much more accessible than ever [1], and we need to support industry-led initiatives to collaborate on protocols, and to encourage the investment in virtual tools that meet the needs of practitioners, ensuring that dispute resolution is easily navigable.

The London Recharge [2] report identifies areas in which we can build upon strengths, for example the scale up of online portals for dispute resolution and other specialised portals, oriented to support ADR services in a timely and cost-effective manner. In that sense, in order to improve London´s Court system and its capacity, Corporation of London is collaborating [3] in the development of a new court complex, focusing on technology.

The session featured two demonstrations that made us realise that nowadays there is a “legal” battle between AI and Humans. These demonstrations were from: Lexis Nexis which has developed Context Experts Analytics [4]; and Conflict Analytics Lab which has developed MyOpenCourt [5]. The first is an AI product created to help with the selection of the right expert from the UK’s largest database of experts (60 million records) to identify experts classified by experience, type of knowledge, and other user preferences. And the second is an AI product which offers many tools: helping clients to find a lawyer; for solving a variety of legal queries; for predicting a court decision; and much more. There is also a compensation calculator where the client answers questions that a lawyer or judge would ask to see, at the end, a potential compensation amount.

The human part of the session was a panel discussion where experts [6] exchanged views on various topics such as how AI can help pressing access to justice concerns and how we handle this “explosion” in the data available and the pace of change in computing power. Amongst the principal issues about AI are the legal and ethical risks like the well-known AI black box issue and the potential for informational asymmetry. Trish Shaw mentioned the lack of transparency in the procedural aspect of the algorithm intelligence system as well as the decision-making side of the algorithm, the anonymised database purchase and how do AI access some types of information. Risks such as discrimination, human rights and transparency are key issues that we should consider.

These issues can be handled with due diligence if users apply good business judgement in their choices and inform themselves adequately before proceeding. On the other hand, traceability into the data and responsible governance involves Tech companies conducting an algorithm and creating a responsible AI before launching it.

The European commission actually published a draft EUAI regulation that basically divides the AI systems into three categories. The first is a prohibited category applied to AI systems with the potential to manipulate persons subliminally as well as exploit vulnerability, to promote social scoring by governments and to the reference real-time facial recognition technologies. The second is the main category, the high-risk systems that will be hard to define, but includes those that regulate government standards, transparency, understandability, and all the issues discussed in this panel. And a final low risk category.

This draft EUAI represents an important step towards responsible regulation of AI and tech, as it seems to strike the right balance between the rights involved and the need for growth in the field. This is definitely good news for London and UK!

As you can see, this was very interesting session and clearly a long way to go but a necessary journey as AI becomes increasingly embedded.

Juan Carlos Pinto Escobedo MCIArb, YMG Global Steering Committee Member


CIArb recognises that what is important to many of its members is the way in which careers and the practice of ADR will change in the future. Technology will be important and last year CIArb launched its ‘Guidance Note on Remote Dispute Resolution Proceedings’, and Richard Susskind also delivered CIArb’s annual Alexander Lecture on the ‘Future of Dispute Resolution’. CIArb’s global branches have also delivered many events on technology and ADR. The Institute has contributed to consultations on the use and ethics of online dispute resolution, and is currently working on technology especially within mediation. As technology continues to change the profession, CIArb will look at ways in which it can continue to deliver skills that its members and others need in the future.

Dr Paresh Kathrani PhD, LLM, LLB (Hons)

Director of Education and Training, CIArb


List of references:

  1. Taking into account that as a world leader in the provision of legal services, in 2018 professional services contributed 75 billion pounds to the UK’s economy.
  6. Sophia Adams Bhatti, Charles Morgan, Steven Shinn and Trish Shaw