Think back to the summer of 2019. The French government amended Article 33 of the Justice Reform Act, a revision that sparked shockwaves felt by legal technology companies around the world. According to the new law, personally identifiable data about members of the judiciary could no longer be used to evaluate, analyze, compare, or predict their professional practices. Stated differently, it suddenly became illegal to publish statistical information about a specific judge and their rulings. The law threatens violators with a five-year prison sentence.
Context is important. Our ideologies about the judicial system have helped calm some of the unease this new law continues to provoke. The legal system, at least in the United States, is supposed to operate the same for everybody regardless of the judge assigned to a case. Our ideologies tell us that judicial analytics are interesting, but irrelevant. They tell us that any two judges, when presented with the same facts, would rule exactly the same way on a case.