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Chinese court gets robot assistant

China’s Supreme People’s Court has employed Faxin, a legal-services robot, which assists judges in sifting through reports and identifying laws relevant to cases. Faxin is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform aimed at transforming China’s overburdened legal system. Faxin is not the only such product currently being used in China. FaXiaoTao, a chat bot, matches clients … Continue reading

Information Regulator makes first statement about unlawful processing

Although the Information Regulator is not yet fully operational, it has already received numerous complaints relating to the unlawful processing of personal information under the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (POPI). POPI itself is not yet fully in force. We are currently awaiting publication of a revised draft of the regulations following the closure … Continue reading

AI goes to law school (China)

Concerned with the influence of technology in practicing law, Peking University Law School is looking to bring artificial intelligence (AI) into curriculums by establishing a new AI research centre. Peking University Law School is partnering with a cloud-based analytical tool Gridsum to launch the research centre which will focus on the possibilities and opportunities of … Continue reading

Ontario AI legal challenge showcases latest AI legal developments

The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Legal Innovation Zone launched an artificial intelligence (AI) legal challenge to encourage law firms to use technology companies that apply AI to legal applications. The six finalists each provide a unique approach using AI to solve legal problems in one way or another. Their work also … Continue reading

What are ‘reasonable endeavours’ to fulfil conditions ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ (UK)

The court was called upon to decide whether the defendant property developer had used ‘reasonable endeavours’ to achieve ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ the satisfaction of contractual conditions, upon the non-fulfilment of which the developer became obliged to make a payment of £1.4 million. The term ‘reasonable endeavours’ may require a party to take only one … Continue reading

Amazon not liable for online sale (US)

A US court found that Amazon is not liable for selling a defective lamp that started a house fire. Amazon’s only connection with the lamp was allowing it to be advertised on its website and stored in its warehouse and it processed the transaction. Amazon compared itself to a mall owner. Ownership of the lamp … Continue reading

Free movement of algorithms (EU)

Freedom of establishment, one of the four freedoms of the European Union single market, will allow artificial intelligence (AI) with legal personality to move freely and be recognised within the EU single market. In a research paper published in Switzerland, it is argued that AI that enjoys legal personality under a member state’s national law … Continue reading

Will your next lawyer be a machine?

As with any other professional, artificial intelligence (AI) has lawyers wondering how it will disrupt their profession. Unlike the lift operator, AI is not set to replace lawyers, but rather to increase performance and enhance service delivered to clients. In two separate experiments that took place in the EU and USA, researches applied AI technology … Continue reading

Revamped international arbitration legislation enacted by Parliament

In late December 2017, Parliament enacted the long-awaited International Arbitration Act which brings about an overhaul of the international arbitration framework. The Act commenced on 20 December 2017. The new Arbitration Act regulates international arbitration proceedings in South Africa and governs the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The Act, which incorporates the Model Law on … Continue reading

‘Controversial provisions’ in Draft Taxation Laws to have far-reaching implications

In July 2017, the first draft of the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (TLAB) was released by National Treasury for public comment. It will give effect to the majority of the proposed tax legislation changes which were announced by the Minister of Finance in his annual budget speech in February. The TLAB contains a number of … Continue reading

Robo-directors in the boardroom

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly developing and may in the future get a seat at the boardroom table. The ability of AI to fulfil certain tasks, such as data collection and processing, at a pace exponentially faster than its human counterparts means that businesses cannot function properly without the use of AI in some shape … Continue reading

Constitutional Court explains the nature of the right to fair administrative action

In an important judgment, the Constitutional Court emphasises that fundamental rights are primarily meant to protect human beings against the state. All the rights contained in our Bill of Rights are very much fundamental rights, including the right to just administrative action enshrined in section 33. South Africa’s administrative law benefits natural and juristic private persons. … Continue reading

Increased directors’ duty of care in the case of approaching business crisis (Italy)

Italian directors now have a specific duty of care to properly manage the company if a business crisis or insolvency is looming. The Italian parliament recently passed a law empowering the government to adopt legislative measures to reform Italy’s current legal framework on business crisis and insolvency. The directors’ enhanced duty of care starts long … Continue reading

Lawyer vs artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) software has beaten a group of lawyers from top international firms in an insurance claim accuracy test. A group of students from the University of Cambridge founded an AI start-up that builds systems that predict legal decisions. These systems were recently pitted against more than 100 partners and associates from major corporate … Continue reading

Responses to comments on Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has published responses to the public comments received on the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, which was tabled in parliament in February 2017. The lengthy responses are available here. See our previous post on the major changes to the original draft published for public comment in August 2015. Several … Continue reading

Limited right to challenge arbitrator’s decision (UK)

The losing party before an arbitration tribunal cannot challenge the decision of the tribunal based on an alleged failure to deal with the evidence properly unless in exceptional cases the tribunal genuinely overlooked evidence that really mattered, or got the wrong end of the stick in misunderstanding really important evidence. The arbitrator’s role is to … Continue reading

Artificial intelligence routed to gain juristic personality (Estonia)

Estonia may become the first country in the world to grant artificial intelligence (AI) some form of juristic personality, giving robots personal rights and responsibilities. This northern Baltic country’s Economy Ministry is currently working on legislation to elevate the status of robots using AI to more than that of an object. It is still unclear … Continue reading

Legal standing of voluntary association acting in the public interest on rights issues

Section 38(d) of the Constitution allows anyone acting in the public interest to approach a court alleging that a right in the Bill of Rights has been infringed or threatened. The issue is always whether a person or organisation acts genuinely in the public interest. The court will take into account considerations such as whether there … Continue reading

The increasing need for risk management advice by lawyers

The risk landscape has led business people, and their legal and compliance teams, to bemoan the business world in which we live. Unsurprisingly, regulatory compliance is the top risk for most industries. Navigating the risk landscape is now a significant focus of businesses and while traditionally accountant-firm driven, risk advisory services offered by law firms … Continue reading
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