Could Robot Judges Believe? Epistemic Ambitions of the Criminal Trial as we approach the Digital Age

A Comment on Sarah Summers «Epistemic Ambitions of the Criminal Trial: Truth, Proof, and Rights»


  • Sabine Gless University of Basel



Criminal proof is unique, in that it must be able to account for the justification of both: accurate fact-finding and a fair trial. This is Sarah Summers’ main message in her article on the epistemic ambitions of the criminal trial, which focusses on belief as a sort of proxy for societal acceptance of truth as a set of facts established by compliance to procedural rules. This commentary tests her finding by scrutinizing whether it is conceivable that robots, complying to all rules, assist in fact-finding with a specific form of legal belief based on a sophisticated probability weighting opaque to humans. The result is in accordance with Sarah Summers: as long as robots cannot explain their beliefs, any criminal proof based on them flounders as it can neither be part of a fair trial nor ensure acceptance in the existing institutional framework.

Palabras clave

Criminal Proof, Robot Judges, Legal Belief, Participation Rights in Criminal Trials, Evidence Law, Electronic Monk


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Biografía del autor/a

Sabine Gless, University of Basel

Juristische Fakultät der Universität Basel 




Cómo citar

Gless, S. (2023). Could Robot Judges Believe? Epistemic Ambitions of the Criminal Trial as we approach the Digital Age: A Comment on Sarah Summers «Epistemic Ambitions of the Criminal Trial: Truth, Proof, and Rights». Quaestio Facti. Revista Internacional Sobre Razonamiento Probatorio, (5).