The Rule of Law and Automation of Government Decision‐Making

Monika Zalnieriute, Lyria Bennett Moses, and George Williams


Governments around the world are deploying automation tools in making decisions that affect rights and entitlements. The interests affected are very broad, ranging from time spent in detention to the receipt of social security benefits. This article focusses on the impact on rule of law values of automation using: (1) pre‐programmed rules (for example, expert systems); and (2) predictive inferencing whereby rules are derived from historic data (such by applying supervised machine learning). The article examines the use of these systems across a range of nations. It explores the tension between the rule of law and rapid technological change and concludes with observations on how the automation of government decision‐making can both enhance and detract from rule of law values.

Published May 2019
Frequency Bi-Monthly
Volume 82
Issue 3
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Online ISSN 1468-2230