Leveraging opportunities and mitigating risks: establishing a guiding framework for judges and courts engaging with statistical analysis on judicial decision-making
The application of data and statistics to judicial decision-making has caused controversy and debate in Australia. As technologies improve and become more accessible, it is inevitable that the application of data and statistics to examine judicial decision-making will increase. This proliferation of the use of data and statistics presents new risks and challenges to judicial impartiality and public confidence. It also, equally presents new opportunities for the courts to use data and statistics in innovative ways to improve judicial decision-making, case management and court processes. This thesis represents the first attempt in Australia in providing the Commonwealth courts and judges with a systematic guiding framework enabling them to collect, use and engage with data and statistics in a manner which mitigates those risks and challenges and maximises data and statistics’ potential. The thesis also responds to and seeks to assist the Commonwealth courts in implementing the recent Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendation that the Commonwealth courts should develop a policy on the creation, development and use of data and statistics on judicial decision-making. There is a real opportunity for the Commonwealth Courts to become leaders in shaping the norms of the way in which data is collected and used to examine judicial decision-making more broadly.