What can data science teach us about litigation before the Supreme Court?

Originally published by in the Solicitors Journal (March 2020).

Despite the woefully inadequate state of open access to case law data in the UK, I decided to use some of what’s available (texts of House of Lords and Supreme Court judgments) to show what opportunities open when we’re able to use modern data science techniques on case law.

This is how my project at courts.barczentewicz.com was born.

So far, I have revealed the hard data on the worrying gender disparities among lawyers who appear before the Supreme Court. I have also ranked the counsel, the instructing solicitors and the barristers’ chambers by numbers of cases in which they appeared in the Supreme Court.

However interesting, these results give merely a small window into what will be possible with further analysis and with greater open access to case law data. But I have faced challenges in applying data science to case law and in what I have been able to learn so far.

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