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Algorithms and adjudication

Lucy, William

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This essay addresses a version of Jerome Frank’s question – ‘Are Judges Human?’ – asking instead: are human judges necessary? It begins, in section II, by outlining the technological developments which inform the view that they are not and critically evaluates the juristic position that seemingly endorses it. That position is labelled ‘technological evangelism’ and it consists of three claims about law and adjudication: the certainty, determinacy and partiality claims. Section III shows that these three claims are utterly incompatible with what it calls standard and non-standard views of adjudication and law, while section IV considers some ways in which proponents of technological evangelism might try to reject standard and non-standard views. That section concludes that no plausible efforts have so far been made by technological evangelists to reject standard and non-standard views, and that those views therefore maintain their existing explanatory and normative priority. The overall conclusion of the essay is that technological evangelism is not a critical explanatory and normative engagement with law and adjudication as we know them, but an effort to replace them: not a game-changing intervention, but a game-ending one.


Lucy, W. (2023). Algorithms and adjudication. Jurisprudence,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 22, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 22, 2023
Journal Jurisprudence
Print ISSN 2040-3313
Electronic ISSN 2040-3321
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (2.4 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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