The Supreme People’s Court
The Opinions on Regulating and Strengthening the Applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Judicial Fields
In order to thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law and the spirit of the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress, and to enforce the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 and the New-generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), aligning with the practice of the people’s courts, is now publishing the Opinions. The Opinions aim to promote the in-depth integration of artificial intelligence with judicial work, deepen the construction of smart courts, and strive to achieve a higher level of digital justice.
I. Guiding Principles
1. People’s courts must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, and uphold justice for the people and judicial impartiality as our cardinal work. People’s courts shall advance in-depth integration of artificial intelligence with adjudication and enforcement, litigation service, court management, as well as social governance facilitation, regulate yet pursue effective application of artificial intelligence in the judicial fields, to accelerate the modernization of the judicial system and judicial capability, and to serve the building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation at all fronts with judicial safeguards.
II. Overall Objectives
2. People’s courts shall, by the year 2025, construct an improved functional system for the application of artificial intelligence in the judicial field, the function of which is to provide all-round intelligent support for serving the people and justice, and to effectively alleviate the high administrative workload of judges, thus achieving improvement in anti-corruption and court management, and innovation in facilitating social governance. People’s courts shall, by the year 2030, build an application and theoretical system for the utilization of artificial intelligence in the judicial field with model rules and demonstration effects, to provide whole-process high-level intelligent support for serving the people and justice, with the normsand principles being widely acknowledged, the administrative workload of judges being significantly reduced, providing effective and adequate safeguards for anti-corruption, precise facilitation for social governance, and achieving full application effectiveness.
3. Principle of Security and Legality. Pursuing a holistic approach to national security, forbidding the usage of illegal AI technologies and products. Judicial AI products and services shall be legally developed, deployed and operated, and shall not be detrimental to national security and legal interests. It shallsecure state secrets, network security, data security and personal information free from infringement, protect personal privacy, promote a harmonious and friendly interface between the user and AI, and provide safe, legitimate, and efficient intelligent judicial services.
4. Principle of Fairness and Justice. Following fundamental judicial rules, serving judicial fairness, ensuring AI products and services are free from discrimination and prejudice. The fairness of the processes and outcomes of trials shall not be impaired by the introduction of technology, either model nor data deviations. Meanwhile, respecting diverse interests, offering fair, reasonable and feasible solutions based on judicial demands, adequately providing necessary assistance to communitiesin difficulties and people with special needs to participate in judicial activities. Intelligent judicial services shall achieve universal inclusion of all groups of users with equal opportunities.
5. Principle of Supporting Adjudication. Affirming the supportive role of AI in adjudication, and the user’s rights to decision-making. AI shall not make judicial decision substituting for the judge in any case, disregarding technology advancement. The results from AI shall be for supplemental references only, for adjudication or judicial supervision and management. Ensuring all judicial decision are made by the judicature, all judicial powers are administered by adjudicative authorities, and all judicial accountability ultimately falls on the decision-maker. All users have the rights to decide whether or not to use judicial AI assistance and the rights to terminate their interface with AI products and services.
6. The Principle of Transparency and Credibility. Ensuring the transparency of technology development, product application and service operation. Ensuring all links of AI systems, including the collection and management patterns of judicial data, the process of legal cognitive semantics, and the logic of assisting judicial presumptions would accept examination, evaluation and registration with relevant authoritative entities with interpretability, testability and verifiability. Corresponding features, capabilities and limitations shall be instructed and identified in a manner that can be easily understood when any judicial AI products and services are used, to ensurethat the procedure and outcome of applications are predictable, traceable and credible.
7. The Principle of Abiding By PublicOrder and Good Customs. Infusing the Core Socialist Values into the whole process of technology development, product application and service operation of judicial AI. The application of judicial AI shall not endanger public order and good customs, shall not damage public interests and social order, and shall not violate public morals and ethics. A mechanism of risk management, emergency response and responsibility investigation shall be established to avoid and resolve possible moral and ethical risks from the application of judicial AI.
IV. Application Scope
8. Enhancing AI-assisted case-handling in whole process. People’s courts shall support the development of AI applications on evidence guidance and review, smart push of laws, regulations and similar cases, adjudication assistance for all causes of actions, AI-assistedlegal documentsgeneration and review, to further advance the uniformity of adjudication, secure judicial justice and safeguard judicial authority.
9. Enhancing AI-assisted complementation of administrative work. People’s courts shall support the development of AI applications for e-filesclassification and categorization, case informationcrawling, automatic diversion of complex and simple cases, automatic recommendation of service addresses and methods, automatic generation of judicial records, AI-assisted property investigation and seizure, automatic electronic casefiling and other related aspects, to reduce the administrative workload of all types of judicial personnel and improve judicial efficiency.
10. Enhancing AI-assisted judicial management. People’s courts shall support the development of AI applications forwarning deviationof adjudicative criteria, review of the procedural-terminated enforcement cases, inspection of judicial irregularities, prevention and control of judicial corruption risk and other related aspects, to optimize the quality and efficiency ofjudicial management and maintain judicial integrity.
11. Enhancing AI services for diversified dispute resolution and social governance. People’s courts shall support the development of AI applications for judicial resolution recommendation, litigation and mediation consultation or Q&A, AI-assisted litigation prediction, early warning of social governance risk, AI-assisted decision-making and other related aspects, to provide new methods for resolving social conflicts and serving social governance.
12. Expanding the AI application scope in judicial fields. People’s courts shall combine the innovation of AI technology with the practice of judicial reform, exploring AI application scenarios in the fields of litigation service, adjudication, enforcement, judicial management and social governance, and expanding new application scope within different fields.
V. System Construction
13. Strengthening the top-level design of AI application. According to the Plan for Information Construction at People’s Courts, the Supreme People’s Court shall build and improve the structure of the Smart AI Court Information System and its technical standard. TheSupreme People’s Court shall broaden the application scenarios of AI Judiciary while establishing and improving the information security, operation and maintenance mechanism of the AI System, and shall guide and regulate the AI system construction of people’s courts at each level.
14. Strengthening the construction ofjudicial data centers and smart court brains.People's courts shall expedite the construction and integration of systems, including judicial databases, data service platforms, judicial knowledge bases, artificial intelligence engines, knowledge service platforms and judicial blockchain platforms. These measures aim to virtualize and enhance the judicial data centers and smart court brains, providing the core driving force for AI applications on judicial services.
15. Strengthening the construction of judicial AI application system. With the main focus being improving the AI performance, People’s courts shall promote the integration of AI application systems including judicial data centres, smart court brains, smart services, smart adjudication, smart enforcement, smart management and other typical judicial scenarios. People’s courts shall continuously provide advanced judicial AI products and services to meet the growingjudicial needs.
16. Reinforcing research on key and core technologies of judicial AI. Based on the strength of national significant projects, scientific research programs and technology innovation platforms, the SPC shall organize leading research forces from industries, academies and laboratories, enhancing the catalyst effect of interdisciplinary study. The research shall focus on pre-trained language models and application regarding judicial context, high efficiency multimodal judicial data processing, judicial data-driven and knowledge-oriented deep neural networks model and transfer learning, legal knowledge-enhanced interpretable retrieval and reasoning model, human-computer interaction aiming at improving judicial efficiency, adjudication support system based on new generation AI and other core technologies, thus promoting and upholding the construction of judicial AI system.
17. Strengthening the construction of infrastructure, security operation and maintenance. Accommodating the needs of judicial AI on computing power, communication and service capacity, People’s courts shall plan and construct information infrastructure in a reasonable scientific manner, including communication network, computing storage, terminal equipment，and specialized information facility. These plans and construction shall strengthen internet security and data security, further protect personal information and improve AI’s operation and maintenance mechanism, providing vital protection and condition for judicial AI applications.
VI. Comprehensive Supports
18. Guiding the Development with Higher Awarenessand Deeper Understanding. By attaching great importance to judicial AI applications in realizing justice for the people and judicial impartiality,People’s courts shall take the opportunity of Smart Courts construction, one of the selected AI model application scenarios, to identify valuable conjunction and connection points, and grasp the laws governing development. More efforts shall be devoted to attracting financial support, enhancing publicity and training, encouraging more judicial personnel to fully participate, andfurther promoting breakthroughs in judicial AI applications.
19. Promoting Collaborative Innovation to Protect Intellectual Property Rights. People’s courts shall increase the quality management of judicial Big-Data supplies to fully exploit and develop systems with the features of inter-departmental, cross-level and cross-service that share collaborative judicial data and intelligent judicial service. People’s courts shall support judicial AI innovations, encouragerelated patent applications or software copyright registrations, providing sufficient protection of intellectual property rights.
20. Enhancing Security Management to MitigateCybersecurity Risks. People’s courts shall promote categorized and hierarchical management of judicial data, enhance the protection of crucial data and sensitive information, and secure the safety of judicial data developing and sharing. Through mechanisms such as Judicial AI Ethics Council, People’s courts shall comprehensively adopt methods,including ethical reviews, compliance reviews, and security assessments, to prevent and mitigate cybersecurity risks in judicial AI applications.