Algorithms, Efficiency and the Two Faces of Courts: A Case Study of the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ)

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    Abstract

    The implementation of algorithms in Courts promises to bring an increase in efficiency to a legal system which is seen as slow and overburdened, but both the literature and governments are aware that there are potential risks of unwanted consequences to the functioning of the legal system. This paper is a case study of how the Brazilian Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ) justifies the introduction of algorithms into their case management operations, articulating different notions of efficiency as they do so. Analyzing accounts in multiple sources, it is observed how the STJ self-describes these multiple roles, both as part of the legal system and its role as an organization which is part of the public administration – especially when trying to justify these changes to other government agencies, the legal community and society in general. The article shows that the STJ emphasizes its role in the legal system as an initial justification in official accounts, but largely emphasizes managerial gains internally, avoiding engaging with potential risks by preserving the moment of decision-making as exclusive of the judge.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSoziale Systeme
    Volume26
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)370-395
    Number of pages26
    ISSN0948-423X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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