Commonwealth Secretary-General appoints Prof Richard Susskind Special Envoy for Justice and AI

01 July 2024
Professor Richard Susskind

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has appointed Prof Richard Susskind OBE KC (Hon) as her Special Envoy for Justice and Artificial Intelligence.

Prof Susskind is the world’s most cited author on the future of legal services. He is President of the Society for Computers and Law and served as Technology Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1998 to 2023.

He has been working on artificial intelligence and the law since the 1980s when he undertook pioneering work in the field.

Using AI to ensure equal access to justice 

In his new role, Prof Susskind will be responsible for supporting the 56 Commonwealth countries in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: ensuring equal access to justice for all by 2030, using artificial intelligence (AI).

He will bring to the role decades of experience in leveraging artificial intelligence responsibly to transform the legal sector, from courts and justice delivery to public legal education and the work of lawyers.

Announcing the appointment today, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“We know that the progress towards SDG 16 is not on track. Artificial intelligence, when harnessed properly, can be a powerful tool to get us back on track.

“Prof Susskind’s record of engagement in justice and artificial intelligence makes him eminently suited to drive the Commonwealth’s Equal Access to Justice Declaration in line with SDG 16.

“Armed with his talent, we will be able to offer far more comprehensive support to our countries as they accelerate justice transformation, which is urgently needed to bring justice within reach for all.”

Speaking about the appointment, Prof Richard Susskind said:

“I am immensely honoured to be appointed Special Envoy for Justice and AI and so to help the 56 Commonwealth countries to ensure equal access to justice for all by 2030.

This comes at an ideal time – remarkable recent developments in AI will transform the way that people can understand and enforce their legal rights.”

Prof Susskind joins seven other distinguished individuals serving as the Secretary-General’s special envoys and champions.