What we do

Technology is rapidly changing how government makes decisions and the avenues by which people can challenge those decisions.

The UK Government already uses algorithms and big data to make decisions across a vast range of areas, including tax, welfare, criminal justice, immigration and social care. A sweeping program to digitise the courts and tribunals system is currently underway.

Through research, training and litigation, PLP aims to ensure that these changes deliver better public decision-making and greater access to justice.

Our ultimate goals in this area are to ensure that:

  • Automated decision-making is fair and lawful, and that meaningful public law remedies are available when things go wrong
  • The increasingly digitalised justice system operates fairly, lawfully and accessibly

Scroll down to see more examples of our work in this area.

Machine learning used to stop Universal Credit payments
News & Updates

Machine learning used to stop Universal Credit payments

The Department of Work and Pensions’ 2021-22 accounts published last week revealed that it has been trialling a machine learning algorithm to detect fraud in Universal Credit claims and expects soon to use the model to stop payments before they are even made.  

Queen’s Speech: our briefings to parliamentarians
Policy briefings and submissions

Queen’s Speech: our briefings to parliamentarians

Brexit Freedoms Bill and Data Reform Bill: what are the risks and opportunities?

Judicial Review Trends and Forecasts 2022: Democracy and the Law
Events

Judicial Review Trends and Forecasts 2022: Democracy and the Law

13 October 2022 @ 9:30 am – 5:40 pm – PLP’s annual conference is back and in-person, for a day of cutting-edge analysis, insight and opinion from the UK’s leading lawyers and legal thinkers, presented in partnership with Blackstone Chambers and Herbert Smith Freehills.  This year’s theme is Democracy and the Law. You can view Martin Rowson’s masterpiece for this year’s event, in full, here. […]

How we do it

Research and policy

  • Research into automated decision-making and administrative justice: We conduct research into the challenges and opportunities which automated decision-making presents for administrative justice in the UK.
  • Developing the evidence base for online courts and tribunals: We conduct rigorous, empirical research into how online courts and tribunals are working in practice, particularly for disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
  • Scrutinising the digitisation of the UK justice system: We scrutinise the UK Government’s programme to digitise the justice system and provide Parliament and policymakers with insights into this dynamic and technical area of policy.
  • Tracking Automated Government (TAG) Project: We are tracking and analysing examples of automated decision-making, to ensure that they conform to public law principles and operate in the interests of disadvantaged and marginalised groups. This project is modelled on our successful Brexit SIFT Project.

You can access all our research and briefings on public law and technology here.

Training and resources

‘Rise of the Robots: Challenging automated decision-making in government’: PLP is developing training for public lawyers on challenging automated government decisions.

Casework

We are keen to share our expertise and speak to individuals and organisations concerned about artificial intelligence and public law decision making.