“The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.”
-K. Schwab – The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2017)
The legal sector, known for its intricacies and time-consuming processes, places a premium on knowledge, precision, and attention to detail. Legal writing and legislative drafting, in particular, entail extensive research, drafting, and meticulous editing. Nevertheless, recent strides in artificial intelligence and natural language processing have introduced transformative possibilities for the creation and administration of law.
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to gain prominence in various sectors, the legal framework in India faces significant challenges in its integration with this transformative technology. To effectively leverage the potential of AI, it becomes imperative to first codify the country’s legal system, which is still governed by outdated laws, some dating back to colonial times. The complexities of India’s legal landscape, with numerous layers, regulations, and legal jargon, create significant hurdles for both individuals and corporations to comprehend and comply with the laws. Moreover, it is challenging to guarantee consistency and predictability in court judgments due to the diverse and fragmented legal systems throughout many states and regions. There are times when fundamental rights and personal laws conflict, which raises questions regarding equality before the law. The tasks are made more difficult by the lack of transparency, lack of standardized processes, and obsolete legal infrastructure in the judicial system. The sluggish response of the legal system to the rapidly evolving technological landscapes illustrates the continuing modernization and modifications required to suit the altering demands of society and the economy.
This article explores how AI can potentially address these difficulties by automating legislative research, offering predictive analytics, promoting transparency, and optimizing the policymaking process. Moreover, it examines AI’s application in legislative procedures in various jurisdictions, shedding light on the need for a well-thought-out approach to harness AI’s potential in shaping future legislation in India. However, as we explore the possibilities, we must be cautious of concerns related to transparency, bias, accountability, cybersecurity, and dependence on AI in legislative functioning.
Difficulties in the current regulatory framework
In order for AI to potentially function in India, we must first codify our legal system according to the needs of changing society. Despite being a young country, India is nonetheless governed by outdated laws. For instance, colonial-era laws like the Police Act of 1861, which was passed nearly a century before independence,
- The first problem is its complexity. Several of India’s laws are highly challenging, with several layers of rules, regulations, and legal jargons, making it difficult for people and businesses to understand and follow them. The majority of legal professionals and judges use a wordy, convoluted, pompous, and monotonous writing style that is difficult to grasp by the common person, which causes them to pay high fees to lawyers and others for the same. In this situation, AI can step in to help.
- Since different rules and regulations apply to various states and regions under India’s complex and fragmented legal system, it is challenging to ensure uniformity and predictability in the outcomes of judicial proceedings. Over the years, personal laws and basic rights have occasionally clashed, and a few of these cases have gone to court, frequently reigniting the discussion on the Uniform Civil Code. Each community now has vastly diverse personal rules that govern things like marriage, inheritance, etc.
- The legal system in India has occasionally come under fire for being sluggish to adapt to new circumstances, which makes it challenging for society to function in a rapidly changing technological environment. The legal system of the country is seriously out of date, and it is constrained by a tendency to pass new laws rather than amending or repealing old ones. Determining outdated laws that need to be changed is therefore necessary. Examples include the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897, which did not address the COVID-19 pandemic situation, sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), such as Article 309, which criminalises suicide, and other laws, such as the Press and Registration of Books Act of 1867, the Public Gambling Act of 1867, and the Prisons Act of 1894.
These challenges in India’s legal system highlight the need for reform and modernization to ensure that laws are clear, effective, and accessible to all and that they can adapt to the changing needs of society and the economy. This is where AI may help policymakers make better decisions by modeling different datasets.
What role can AI play in legislation?
AI can offer unprecedented efficiency and precision to the process of legislative drafting. AI-powered tools can analyze extensive legal databases, past legislation, and relevant case law to suggest optimal phrasing, detect inconsistencies, and ensure adherence to legal norms. By streamlining the drafting process, AI can enable lawmakers to focus more on policy substance rather than meticulous language crafting. This technology can also aid in maintaining consistency across various sections of a bill, reducing the likelihood of ambiguities or contradictions. Perhaps, there are a few ways that we can revolutionize and effectively utilize AI in legislative drafting.
Automating legislative research
Automating legislative research tool can help lawmakers quick access to relevant information, identify legislative gaps and predict legislative outcomes through AI-enabled tools streamlining drafting. It can drive cross-legislative collaboration, maintain consistency and help prepare speech. Real-time updates and efficient cross-referencing can help develop and organize better-informed legislations. By implementing automation, India can have an effective and efficient drafting of laws, enabling legislatures to respond more quickly to the needs of the people and make laws in line with the interests of the people.
Based on past data, predictive analytics may be used to anticipate the outcome of legal procedures. This can help legislators devise different strategies and comprehend the factors that influence judicial decisions. AI may also be used to forecast the potential implications of new laws, taking into account a range of factors such as economic data, public opinion, and historical trends. This could make it simpler for MPs to choose whether or not to move a certain proposal forward.
Solutions based on AI may be used to encourage legislative transparency, making it easier for people to understand what is happening, and participate in democratic processes. People can use chatbots and other AI toolsto inquire about proposed laws or to provide feedback on specific ideas. Additionally, GPT may be connected to voice-activated devices to provide lawyers with an autonomous way to access legal information and perform legal research. This may prove to be quite useful for those who prefer voice instructions over typing.
Simulating Distinct Data-sets
The extent to which AI models can discriminate between different legal data sets depends on the calibre and quantity of the data used to train the model as well as the techniques employed to analyze the data. By appropriately training and analysing AI models to differentiate between various types of legal data sets, legal research and analysis might become more accurate and efficient. Additionally, by focusing on laws and policies that are more important, it might help find laws that need to be updated.
Optimizing Legislative procedure
AI is able to automatically find patterns and important information in vast amounts of legislative texts. Legislators may find it simpler to locate essential legislation and understand how it impacts their own objectives consequently. For instance, NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms may help summarize lengthy legal documents, and chatbots powered by AI can answer questions about specific laws or regulations.
Use of AI in legislative procedures in different jurisdictions
Whenever we think about the use of cutting-edge technology and tech-savvy workplaces, we can never imagine a Central legislative department. The reason being such structures having conventionally been identified as buildings piled with huge amount of papers, unruly legislators and a lot of ruckus. However, recent advances in technology, especially Artificial Intelligence, are being seen to be changing this notion. Now, AI-based systems can analyse an infinite quantity of data, identify patterns, and apply those patterns to fresh data. As a result, it encourages lawmakers to interact with a vast constituency, consider many viewpoints, take part in plenary and committee sessions remotely, and eliminate paper-based processes. However, it is necessary to understand the position of the Indian Parliament and Legislators in adopting these AI tools for directing at better legislation. Along these lines, the National e-Vidhan (NeVA) Project was launched in 2015 under the Digital India Programme, which plans to digitize legislatures and use AI-based tools to analyze information. India can create its own blueprint by doing a thorough analysis of breakthroughs in other nations and weighing their benefits and drawbacks. A study of the key innovations of the countries around the world has been made below:
At the very least, AI technology must be used by digital data repositories. Such repositories for bills, questions, debates, and parliamentary processes have been established in the majority of nations. Although it exists in the Indian Parliament, the state legislative assemblies and councils are yet to adopt such technology.
The Covid-19 epidemic intensified the idea of a virtual or e- parliament. It is also evident by the World e-Parliament Report, which reports that by the end of 2020, 65 percent of legislatures were holding virtual or hybrid committee meetings and 33 percent plenary meetings. Surprisingly, the nations with the most agile parliaments included nations like Estonia, Namibia, and Brazil in addition to those from the wealthy world. In fact, Estonia, a tiny, sparsely populated nation about the size of Haryana, is seen to have implemented e-parliament the most effectively. India is also in the way of developing an app to facilitate the work of its legislatures, initially tested in Himachal Pradesh, to assist the work of its legislators.
Assistance to legislators
Legislators are engaged in a wide array of matters. Most advanced democracies feature well-equipped libraries and dedicated research personnel to aid legislators. Presently, AI-driven aides are undergoing trials in numerous parliaments. For instance, Japan employs an AI tool to aid in formulating responses for its legislature, while South Africa is experimenting with chatbots to provide support to legislators. In Austria, the EULE Media Monitor locates, organizes, and presents relevant content for lawmakers. Given the absence of institutional research support for legislators, India could undoubtedly benefit from such innovations. Incorporating an electronic system to manage research requests could significantly enhance the work of Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs).
Engaging with the electorate
Legislators worldwide are adopting digital tools. Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies uses AI services like Ulysses for public engagement. France (Assembl), Luxembourg (Mindool), and the US (POPVOX) employ similar tools. These platforms enable broad participation and analyze debates to spot recurring themes. AI aids in monitoring lawmakers too – Belgium’s Flemish Scrollers detects distracted politicians during sessions and tweets their names. In India, with large constituencies, AI could analyze voter opinions effectively. Such technology also addresses public concerns about MPs sleeping or engaging in inappropriate activities during meetings.
An increasing number of countries are testing AI-driven systems for drafting legislation and utilising predictive analytics. The US House of Representatives has implemented an AI application to automate the comparison of bill differences and amendments. The Netherlands has employed AI-based methods to review legislative drafts and to ensure compliance with drafting standards. Presently, a highly accurate predictive tool exists that can anticipate the approval of US Congressional Bills. Using just the bill’s text and a few variables, the system can forecast the likelihood of a bill becoming law.
In India’s intricate policy formulation process, numerous repetitive yet labor-intensive stages could be automated. AI assistants could analyze extensive materials, such as speeches, bills, and queries, to identify patterns. Furthermore, these assistants could simplify the currently convoluted and unclear process of drafting legislation.
The global pandemic prompted numerous parliaments to transition certain operations to online platforms. In its pursuit of this objective, India must assess the potential areas where AI can offer superior performance and subsequently create tailored tools or leverage existing solutions. Nevertheless, it must exercise caution regarding the potential drawbacks of AI-driven decision-making, encompassing issues such as biases, data quality, and lack of transparency. If the Indian government successfully integrates the capabilities of AI in a manner that is accessible, transparent, and responsive to citizens, it has the potential to significantly revolutionize the landscape of policymaking in the country.
Tech-enthusiasts assert that AI technology have the potential to completely transform the way laws are made. However, it is crucial to recognize the potential threats associated with any AI-powered technology as well as the unprecedented risks connected to the crucial function played by parliaments in democratic systems. A lot of concerns are being voiced by constitutionalists regarding the “constitutional neutrality of technology,” which refers to the idea that technology shouldn’t contradict with the standards and values of liberal representative democracy.
It cannot be denied that AI Applications will help in the simplification of the management of legislative documents, however, one of the most significant risks associated with the same is the potential manipulation of representatives’ freedom of opinion. This might occur due to the use of syntax codes, which tend to oversimplify reality, as well as the adoption of natural language processing techniques, which are based on previously created human-configured algorithms and may yield inaccurate and biased results.
Further, one of the most important features of legal standards, namely their adaptability to a changing society, may be compromised by the employment of an AI-based machine. The theory of interpretation might be significantly affected by this. The “elasticity” or adaptability of the law comes from its interpreters’ capacity to modify its written formulation to meet changing needs without having to undertake significant change. To ensure a wide range of semantic expressions, AI programs created for legislation drafting would need to be updated frequently to consider new dynamics and growing societal challenges as AI systems rely on historical data. Furthermore, no machine intelligence could ever match human intelligence since it lacks human wisdom and knowledge and might not be able to comprehend the complex socioeconomic and political factors that influence new legislations. Consequently, Laws that are unfair or discriminatory might be created.
Even while we consider the possibility that the use of AI may be restricted to creating straightforward technical or standard regulations, technical mistakes or weaknesses of the AI programs cannot be prevented. In other words, errors in wording, discrepancies across provisions, or unanticipated consequences could result from flaws or deficiencies in the algorithms, which could undermine the legitimacy and credibility of representatives and undermine public confidence in democratic processes.
Further, it should be underlined that software created for parliaments would not be created internally but rather outsourced to outside contractors, mainly commercial corporations that would possess software patents and that, presumably, may be based abroad. This is on top of the obvious difficulties with cybersecurity in delicate areas. This might give rise to questions about technology control and digital sovereignty. If AI algorithms are controlled by a specific group or organization, they may be used to dominate or influence the legislative process, which would be a danger to the democratic ideals of transparency, accountability, and constitutional validity.
Last but not least, it is pertinent to consider how people would receive legislations that will be formulated by AI, either partially or fully or with its assistance. One of the key philosophical and jurisprudential issues surrounding AI-generated legislation is the question of legitimacy. Who has the right to make laws? Traditionally, this right has been vested in elected representatives or other government officials. However, if AI is used to generate legislation, it is no longer clear who is ultimately responsible for the laws that are passed. Another issue is the question of accountability. How can we hold AI systems accountable for the laws that they generate? This is a complex issue, as it is often difficult to determine how AI systems make decisions. Finally, there is the question of transparency. How can we ensure that AI systems are transparent in their operation? This is important because it allows the public to scrutinize the decision-making process and to identify any potential biases or errors.
Public trust is essential for the effective implementation of AI-generated legislation. If people do not trust the AI systems that are being used to generate legislation, they are less likely to accept and comply with the laws that are passed. There are a number of things that can be done to build public trust in AI-generated legislation. One is to ensure that the systems are transparent and accountable. Another is to engage the public in the development and use of AI systems. For example, public consultations could be held to get feedback on how AI systems should be used to generate legislation. It is also important to educate the public about AI and how it is being used to generate legislation. This will help people to understand the potential benefits and risks of AI-generated legislation, and to make informed decisions about whether or not to accept it.
Thus, it is plausible to consider whether the incorporation of artificial intelligence into parliaments, despite being a key avenue for development, can enhance the formal and substantive quality of legislation to the point where human legislators are entirely replaced.
Integrating AI assistants in legislation can potentially revolutionize the lawmaking process, improving efficiency, accuracy, and public engagement. By leveraging AI’s capabilities, policymakers can shape a more responsive, inclusive, and effective legislative framework that meets the complex challenges of the modern world. However, careful planning, ethical considerations, and potential implications are necessary for successful implementation. Finding the right balance between innovation and cautious implementation will pave the way for a profound transformation in the way legislation is drafted, enabling an open, transparent, and citizen-friendly policymaking process.
Conclusively, integrating AI with law offers a prodigious way to create innovative legal frameworks. Policymakers may embrace a future in which lawmaking gracefully adjusts to the intricacies of our constantly changing environment by fusing technical innovation with social vigilance and public involvement.
(This article has been authored by Neha Kumari and Manvi Bansal, 3rd year law students at National Law Institute University, Bhopal)
CITE AS: Neha Kumari and Manvi Bansal, “Harnessing AI for Legislative Drafting: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Road Ahead” (The Contemporary Law Forum, 23 October 2023) <tclf.in/2023/10/23/harnessing-ai-for-legislative-drafting-opportunities-challenges-and-the-road-ahead/> date of access