Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters are specialist discrimination barristers based in London at Cloisters chambers with deep knowledge of the equality implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic discrimination having written and lectured extensively on this area since 2018, and having been instructed by business, national regulators, NGOs, unions and workers in relation to AI regulatory issues.
In 2019, they created www.ai-lawhub.com which is a centralised resource for tracking and analysing the emerging debate in the UK, Europe and globally concerning AI and the ways in which it should be analysed with an equality, data protection and human rights framework. They also tweet regularly from @AILawHub on developments in this area. Their blogs, which examine equality issues and AI are available here.
Their work has been referenced by the European Commission and led to invitations to participate in discussions with various governmental and non-governmental bodies in the UK: the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Committee on Standards in Public Life as part of their review of AI and its impact on public standards, the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law (which examined the regulation of automated decision making) and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI).
In late 2021 they have been working on a commission from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with with disabilities and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in relation to the effects of AI, ML and ADM for persons with disabilities. The Special Rapporteur’s thematic report was presented to the UN Human Rights Committee on the 14th March 2022 and is available here. The
In June 2021 they were shortlisted by CogX2021 – the leading festival of all things AI and emerging technologies – for its Global Leadership Award.
In May 2021 they spoke at the Annual Conference of the Employment Lawyers Association on the implications of AI for the employment relationship providing guides to identify and think through different legal risks. Their paper is available here.
On the 25 March 2021, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) published a legal opinion by Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters called “Technology Managing People – the legal implications“. A detailed blog concerning the report has also been published here. Their Report has been widely cited in the discussions about future regulation of AI systems in the workspace.
During late 2020 and early 2021, Robin and Dee devised and delivered a training programme for the Council of Europe, in conjunction with the CDEI, for UK regulators on discrimination and AI. The programme is being rolled out to regulators in France and Spain.
On the 10 June 2020, Equinet published their major Report “Regulating for an equal AI : A New Role for Equality Bodies: Meeting the new challenges to equality and non-discrimination from increased digitisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence” (the Equinet Report) discussing the next steps in European regulation of AI systems.
Robin and Dee are barristers at Cloisters Chambers. They both have long term experience of working at the forefront of discrimination problems.
Robin Allen QC has appeared in over 145 reported cases in the Industrial Relations Law Reports (more than any other barrister), including many pathfinding appellate cases at the highest level in the UK and Europe. He has been instructed in over 40 cases in the House of Lords / Supreme Court and has undertaken test cases in relation to every protected characteristic. He has worked with the European Commission on the drafting of the two key equality directives in 2000, and lectured on their meaning to judges and NGOs and European Equality Bodies. A copy of his full CV is available here.
Dee Masters is leading equality lawyer undertaking serious multi week trials involving multiple and complex claims. Due to her expertise she has advised NGOs and government agencies and Parliamentary Committees on the development of discrimination law. A copy of her full CV is available here.
Other work in relation to the human rights impact of AI and Automated Decision Making
Together, Robin and Dee started the debate on the ways in which the Equality Act 2010, which enshrines the principle of non-discrimination in the UK, could be deployed to challenge discriminatory technology and in particular algorithms. They have published many papers and spoken at numerous events some of which are highlighted below:
- “The impact of the proposals within “Data: A new direction” on discrimination under the Equality Act 2010″, 5 November 2021, open opinion for The Legal Education Foundation. Available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters opened the Employment Lawyers Association Conference 2021 with a lecture on “AI in the Workplace”, with Mary Towers of the TUC, see here.
- Ada Lovelace Institute publish Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters “Can digital immunity certificates be introduced in a non-discriminatory way?” in October 2020; see here.
- Dee Masters was a panellist for the Ada Lovelace Institute in July 2020 discussing the extent to which employers can use Covid 19 immunity certificates. A video of the seminar is available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters spoke to Disability Rights TV in July 2020 about the challenges which disabled people face in a world that increasingly relies on AI. The video can be accessed here.
- Our report for Equinet – the European Network of Equality Bodies was published on the 10th June 2020, with a Preface by Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli. The Report can be seen here.
- On 5 May 2020, the TUC released a video of an interview between Mary Towers (Employment Rights Policy Officer), Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters entitled “Employment rights after coronavirus – technology at work”.
- Robin Allen QC: “Artificial intelligence, machine learning, Algorithms and discrimination law: The new frontier” 3 February 2020, Michael Rubenstein’s Annual Discrimination Law Conferences in London and Edinburgh this month. Available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters “Artificial Intelligence: the right to protection from discrimination caused by algorithms, machine learning and automated decision-making“, ERA Forum, 20(4), 585-598 . Available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters: “In the matter of automated data processing in government decision making”, 7 September 2019, open opinion for The Legal Education Foundation. Available here.
- Robin Allen QC, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Rights” April 2019, ERA, Brussels, details available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters: “AI Justice: Artificial intelligence decision-making and the law”, Public Law Project Annual Conference, October 2018, London, details available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters: “Algorithms, Apps & Artificial Intelligence: The next frontier in discrimination law?”, October 2018, available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters: “Algorithms, Apps and Artificial Intelligence”, Discrimination Law Association, July 2018, details available here.
- Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters: “Algorithms, apps & artificial intelligence 2: Can data protection laws be used to challenge discriminatory tech?”, July 2018, available here.
- Robin Allen QC: “Algorithms, Apps & Artificial Intelligence: The next frontier in discrimination law?”, ERA, Trier, June 2018, paper available here.
In addition to the papers and open opinions listed above, Robin Allen QC has co-authored Equality Law and Human Rights (3rd Edition 2018, Oxford University Press), and in 2020 Cambridge University Press published the developed texts of his Hamlyn Lectures as “Making Comparisons in Equality Law: Within Gender Age and Conflicts”