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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

This Article reveals the untold story of Legal-Net, Israel’s cloud-based judicial management system. While scholarly attention has thus far focused on the narrow question of the impact technology may have on judicial decision-making or on efficiency, little has been written on the manner in which technology affects the regulation and management of judges and the administration of justice as a whole. Through a combined historical analysis and interview methodology, we trace the development of Legal-Net from the early 1990s and situate it within a theoretical law-and-technology context. Detailing Legal-Net’s trajectory provides meaningful insights as to the relationship between regulation, technology, and the judicial role. More specifically, it unearths four approaches to technology as a regulatory tool, harnessed by the state to govern the public sector itself (and in particular, the production of justice): the bureaucratic/administrative approach, the structural approach, the managerial/integrative approach, and the normative approach. While distinct, these approaches interlace and demonstrate that the processes through which organizational technology is developed and implemented are far from value-neutral. The emerging technological ecosystem and in particular the “technological gaze”—the omnipresent data collection via managerial technology—have considerable implications on the manner in which judges are nudged to comply with expectations. The research further reveals that, as a new technological ecosystem was established, so was the internal perspective of judges regarding the judicial function transformed: from “retail” justice to “wholesale” provision of dispute resolution services (under the law).

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