JusticeBot: Giving tenants better access to legal information
Software developed at UdeM will soon provide a gateway to tenancy law and jurisprudence for the general public. writes law professor Karim Benyekhlef.
As part of its Autonomy Through Cyberjustice Technologies project, Université de Montréal's Cyberjustice Laboratory, which I direct, is developing software driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that will give people better access to tenancy law and jurisprudence.
JusticeBot will advise Quebec's landlords and tenants on their rights and obligations under a lease and help them determine the likelihood that legal action to terminate their lease will succeed.
It will first ask the user for background information on their legal dispute, then tap into a database of more than one million prior rulings, supplied by the Régie du Logement du Québec to the Cyberjustice Laboratory, to determine which legal rules apply and the probable outcome of a case. The Cyberjustice Laboratory aims to develop a model that compares the facts provided by a user against facts in previous cases to calculate the probability of resolution.
Rental housing: a clearly defined field of law
The Cyberjustice Laboratory chose rental housing law for the JusticeBot because it is a well-defined area of law, making it well-suited for the use of AI.
Furthermore, by providing consistent, easily understandable information on lease termination disputes, this project will have considerable social impact since it will make this field of law more accessible to the public.
Finally, the methods, skills and best practices established by the JusticeBot project can be applied to a much broader scope (i.e., other legal areas such as consumer or employment law), further improving the general public's access to law and justice.
An inter-institutional project
JusticeBot is a joint effort carried out with the Régie du Logement du Québec and several other partners, including Aliaa Elhage of Legal Aid, Professor Leila Kosseim of Concordia University, Arsène Fansi-Tchango of the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, Professor Vern Walker of Hofstra University, Professor Kevin Ashley of the University of Pittsburgh and Professor Eric Nyberg and his team at Carnegie Mellon University.