Algorithmic justice: dispute resolution and the robot judge?

John Morison, Adam Harkens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this chapter the potential of developments in technology to transform the legal world and, in particular, for algorithms to replace judges, is addressed in a skeptical account. Taking dispute resolution - rather than more formal hearings or trials - as perhaps affording the strongest opportunity for the case to be made for technology, the chapter explores the evolution of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) into “Online Dispute Resolution” (ODR), and reviews briefly how the component tasks of mediation might be thought to lend themselves to technological enhancement. The argument is made that technology may function as a useful tool to augment various informal dispute resolution processes but it cannot capture the essentially social nature of law or reproduce judicial reasoning in its proper sense. While accepting the ‘disruptive nature’ of new technology for many aspects of legal process, the authors cast doubt over some of the wilder claims about the future, and the feasibility and desirability of algorithmically based systems taking over decision and rulemaking powers unsupervised.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparative Dispute Resolution
EditorsMaria Moscati, Michael Palmer, Marian Roberts
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781786433039
ISBN (Print)9781786433022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Comparative Law

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Maria Federica Moscati, Michael Palmer and Marian Roberts 2020.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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