Judging the Robojudge: Ethical and Legal perspectives on Using Artificial Intelligence in Legal Decision-Making Procedures

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and the University of Amsterdam invite PhD students/ ReMa students in philosophy to register for the course ‘Judging the Robojudge’  to take place on April 7,8,9 2021.

Organizing university

Amsterdam Law School and the Philosophy Department, University of Amsterdam


April 7,8,9 2021



Type of activity

3-day Spring school

Type of activity

For this activity PhD students and ReMa students can – after successful completion – earn a certificate. However, the OZSW is not accredited to reward students with credits/ECTS directly. The study load is mentioned on the certificate, which can usually be exchanged for ‘real’ credits (ECTS) at your home university. More information: https://www.ozsw.nl/request-certificate/

Primary target group

PhD students, Ma students, scholars

If places available, also open to

Bachelorstudents and legal professionals

Application/registration deadline

April 3, 2020

About the topic

Within the next few years artificial intelligence will radically change our legal decision-making procedures/the legal practice. We are already familiar with automated decision-making procedures that support the legal system. Think about speeding tickets. Also, smart algorithms are already used to analyse large legal data repositories for relevant case law. They can even make predictions about the verdict in some cases. Moreover, in The Netherlands, companies such as Vodafone and Bol.com experimented with ‘E-Court’; an automatic digital court intended to try defaulters. And, in the United States, COMPAS, the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, predicts the chances of recidivism using data. It is used to support judges and officials in their decision-making procedures.

Using smart technology may sound as a relief from scouring endless files and filing reports. Furthermore, promises of AI in law include increased ‘fairness’ because these systems are unbiased as opposed to human decision-makers and increased ‘efficiency’ in terms of risk-prevention.

However, using AI to support or even replace legal decision-making by humans will have a significant impact on our lives and therefore also raises questions. Do we want machines to become a part of our legal decision-making procedures? And if yes, to what extent? Moreover, are AI systems in fact unbiased? COMPAS was been criticized for being racist, indicating higher risks among black people than white people. Also, do we want a hyper efficient legal system based on intensive surveillance? What about private (tech)companies structuring the legal domain? How about the importance of the ‘human factor’ for the legitimacy of legal decisions?

Aim / objective

During this summer school we will explore to what extent using AI in our legal system is compatible with fundamental (public) values to which liberal legal orders are committed, such as equal concern and respect, liberty, transparency, and legitimacy. We will investigate legal as well as ethical concerns with the help of distinguished speakers from law, philosophy of technology and ethics.


Wednesday April 7
Speaker Time Topic
Marjolein Lanzing

University of Amsterdam

Iris van Domselaar

University of Amsterdam

9.30 – 10 AM Introduction
Mireille Hildebrandt

Radboud University

10 – 11 AM Presentation: The need to develop a philosophy of technology for computational law (and for modern positive law)


– Hildebrandt (2020): A Philosophy of Technology for Computation Law

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

Radboud University

12 – 1 PM Presentation: Strengthening Legal Protection Against Discrimination by Algorithms and Artifical Intelligence



– Zuiderveen Borgesius (2020): Strengthening Legal Protection Against Discrimination by Algorithms and Artifical Intelligence

– Angwin, Larson, Mattu and Kirchner (2016): Machine Bias



Thursday April 8
Sven Nyholm

Utrecht University

12 – 1 PM Presentation: Responsibility Gaps


–    Nyholm (2018): Attributing Agency to Automated Systems: Reflections on Human-Robot Collaborations and Responsibility-Loci

–    Danaher & Nyholm (2020): Automation Work, and the Achievement Gap

Alicia Solow-Niederman

Harvard Law School

4.00- 5.00 PM Presentation: Contextualizing Artificially Intelligent Justice


– Solow-Niederman: Developing Artificially Intelligent Justice



Friday April 9
Tania Sourdin

Newcastle University, NSW

9 – 10 AM Presentation: Judge v Robot?


–    Sourdin (2018): Judge v Robot? Artificial Intelligence and Judicial Decision-Making

Roundtable with

Caspar Chorus

Delft Technical University

Tania Sourdin

Newcastle University

Pim Haselager

Radboud University

10 – 11 AM “Judge v Robot”



Iris van Domselaar
Marjolein Lanzing

Key note speakers

Prof. Hildebrandt (Radboud University)
Professor Hildebrandt is part of the Chair or Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law at Radbouw University, where she teaches Digital Security. The focus of her research is the interaction between data- and code-driven solutions on the one hand and law and the rule of law on the other.

Prof. dr. mr. Zuiderveen Borgesius(Radboud University)
Since 2019, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius is Professor of ICT and private law at Radboud University. At Radboud University he is affiliated with the Digital Security Group of the iCIS Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, and with the iHub, the Interdisciplinary Hub for Security, Privacy and Data Governance. His research interests include privacy, data protection, discrimination, and freedom of expression, especially in the context of new technologies. He often enriches legal research with insights from other disciplines. He has co-operated with, for instance, economists, computer scientists, and communication scholars.

Dr. Nyholm (Utrecht University)
Sven is assistant professor of Philosophical Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. In 2020, Sven published his book Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency, and Anthropomorphism.

Dr. Solow-Niedermann(Harvard Law School)
Alicia Solow-Niederman’s research sits at the intersection of public law and emerging digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence. Recognizing that all technologies are deployed in social and political contexts, Alicia takes an interdisciplinary approach. She is especially interested in how to ensure public accountability and democratic legitimacy as government and private firms alike develop and deploy algorithmic tools that allocate benefits and burdens in particular jurisdictions. Her current project considers the ways in which the regulatory or administrative regime within which an algorithmic tool is adopted can facilitate or thwart not only certain technological understandings of fairness and bias, but also certain forms of stakeholder input and top-down oversight.

Prof. Sourdin (The University of Newcastle)
Professor Sourdin has an extensive career focused on justice, litigation and dispute resolution, while she also influenced legislative reform initiatives. Tanias research has focused on justice innovation, technology, delay and systemic reforms. Tania has recently co-published an article on “justice apps”.

Required preparations

Certificate / credit points

3 EC


Free for OZSW-members and 25 Euro for non-OZSW members

Registration/application form

Please register by filling in this form.

Cancellation and registration policy


Dr. Iris van Domselaar, Amsterdam Law School, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Marjolein Lanzing, Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam

Contact info

Ilse Fokkema (student-assistant)