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Towards a Digital Government: Reflections on Automated Decision-making and the Principles of Administrative Justice

Makoto Hong Cheng & Hui Choon Kuen

(2019) 31 SAcLJ 875

Governments around the world are increasingly looking to utilise technology and automated systems in administrative decision-making. As Singapore undergoes its digital government transformation journey, automated decision making may become an essential part of public service delivery in the near future. Such developments necessitate consideration of the interaction between automated decision-making and the principles of administrative justice. The first part of this article explains the types and benefits of automated decision-making systems. It then outlines the significant use cases by government agencies in Australia, Canada and the US, as well as the administrative law issues that these use cases illustrate. Drawing from these and other examples, the second part distils the key administrative law rules that may be infringed by the use of automated systems. The third part argues that such infringements can largely be avoided and suggests possible solutions. In the overall analysis, this article suggests there is much room for optimism that the use of automated systems for decision-making can remain consistent with the principles of administrative justice while enhancing public service delivery.