The Use of Legal Expert Systems in Administrative Decision Making

The Use of Legal Expert Systems in Administrative Decision Making

Jorgen S. Svensson (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-19-8.ch008
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The chapter will now start with a short introduction into the Dutch General Assistance Act, its administration and the problems concerned with that administration. Then, I will discuss the idea of expert systems support and present the results of several investigations into the application of expert systems, in this context. Given these results, some have been quick to argue that expert systems are indeed important and valuable tools in the administration of welfare state programs. The next section will present important arguments against too much optimism. Both from a legal scientific as well as from a social scientific perspective, objections against the use of expert systems have been formulated. On the one hand, these objections have to be taken seriously, because they clearly have some validity, and thus require attention when discussing the possibilities of expert systems. On the other, it is important to notice that these objections have not prevented the introduction of these systems in general assistance in the Netherlands. As I will then explain, the fact that expert systems are now accepted by the General Assistance administrations, has to do with several specific factors, which really have promoted the use of expert systems in this field. Factors that have to do with the specific role of national regulation, with the professional status of the bureaucrats and with the increased scrutiny under which the administrations now have to function. In the last section of this chapter, I will draw some conclusions with respect to the general applicability of legal expert systems in service provision and provide some arguments for the idea that expert systems will soon become an important technology in electronic service delivery.

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