A National Curriculum for Australian Judicial Officers

Unit Nine Intersection of Science, Technology and the Judicial Function


Technology is pervasive both inside and outside the courtroom. Some innovations can improve the conduct of court proceedings; however, other technologies such as automated decision making may impinge on the judicial function. Moreover, judicial officers must be familiar with the law regarding expert evidence, including its admissibility and properly drawing inferences from expert evidence.

Aim of this Unit

The purpose of this unit is to facilitate reflection on how the use of technologies inside and outside the courtroom might affect different facets of the judicial function, such as independence and impartiality, and how best to balance the use of technology with preserving the judicial function. Moreover, programs in this unit also provide judicial officers with the knowledge and skills to assess expert evidence.

Application of the Core Dimensions

Substantive and Procedural Law

Programs in this unit might cover the law and procedure relating to the admissibility and use of expert evidence as well as the obligations of expert witnesses.

Judge Craft Skills

Programs in this unit might cover how the use of technology might improve the conduct of court proceedings.

Social Context

Programs in this unit might cover new developments in science and technology that may arise in expert evidence or that judicial officers might use in the context of court proceedings

Attitudes and Values

Programs in this unit might invite reflection on whether and why the use of certain kinds of technology unduly infringes on the judicial function or not.

Core Judicial Qualities


The courts remain independent of the other branches of government and judicial officers are not subject to improper pressure or influence when making decisions. 10


This requires ‘treating like cases alike; a process which is free from coercion or corruption; ensuring that inequality between the parties does not influence the outcome of the process; adherence to the values of procedural fairness…and unbiased neutral decision making…’ 11


Being patient and respectful, allowing litigants to present their case and ensuring the absence of actual or perceived bias 12


open court principles, annual reports identifying expenditure, rights to appeal, as well as giving reasons, noting the variation in this value for those in leadership roles. 13


Ensuring the reasonably timely resolution of cases. 14


Maintaining an open rather than closed court as far as possible and providing clear and reasoned decisions that are publicly available as far as possible. 15


Having sound knowledge of the relevant law and procedure as well as good court craft skills 16


Displaying intellectual honesty, respect and placing the obligations of judicial office above personal interests both inside and outside the courtroom. 17


Doing justice according to law irrespective of the consequences or popularity of the decision 18


9.1 - Artificial Intelligence and the Courts


These programs provide judicial officers with information about the use of AI in the context of court proceedings and the opportunity for reflection about AI’s proper role in court proceedings.


These programs could encompass a wide range of topics, including –

  • what AI is, its possibilities and its limitations
  • how practitioners use AI and the implications for court proceedings
  • how courts (including judges) can and should use AI and, if it is used, how and when judicial officers should disclose its use

9.2 - Expert Evidence


These programs provide judicial officers with the knowledge and skills to assess the admissibility of expert evidence, evaluate its weight and draw inferences from it. In addition, these programs may provide information about scientific and technical aspects of particular types of expert evidence such as physical forensics, computer and information technology or psychological/psychiatric evidence. 


Programs could include–

  • the law regarding expert evidence
  • the scientific and technical aspects of different kinds of expert evidence
  • when to make use of ‘hot tubbing’ experts

9.3 - Ethics of the expert witness


These programs provide judicial officers with knowledge of the legal and ethical obligations of expert witnesses and the ability to assess whether expert witnesses have complied with those obligations.


Programs might cover–

  • the obligations that expert witnesses must abide by
  • the legal consequences where an expert has engaged in unethical conduct

9.4 -


These programs develop an understanding of the impact of Indigenous people’s health issues in the justice system