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Judges approve use ChatGPT in legal rulings


Judges will be allowed use ChatGPT to help write legal rulings despite warnings that artificial intelligence (AI) can invent cases that never happened.

This is according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

The Judicial Office has issued official guidance to thousands of judges in England and Wales saying AI can be useful for summarising large amounts of text or in administrative tasks.

However, it said that chatbots are a “poor way of conducting research” and are prone to making up fictitious cases or legal texts.

The guidance also warned that the rise of bots such as ChatGPT could end up being widely used by members of the public when bringing legal cases and that deepfake technology could be used to create fake evidence.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls, said that AI “offers significant opportunities in developing a better, quicker and more cost-effective digital justice system”.

He said: “Technology will only move forwards and the judiciary has to understand what is going on. Judges, like everybody else, need to be acutely aware that AI can give inaccurate responses as well as accurate ones.”

Earlier this year, a senior judge, Lord Justice Birss, described ChatGPT as “jolly useful”, saying he had used the chatbot to summarise an area of law he was familiar with, and copy and pasted it into a court ruling.

He said on Monday that he had used ChatGPT as a test and that it had been used within the guidance because he had not entered any secret or confidential information into it.

Sir Geoffrey said that lawyers were potentially subject to perjury and criminal sanctions if submissions penned by a chatbot produced false evidence. “Nothing changes just because they may have got what they said falsely from an AI chatbot instead of out of their own head,” he said.

Suid Adeyanju, CEO of cyber company RiverSafe said: “The rise of AI use in legal rulings brings with it great opportunities, but also opens the door to major cyber risks. Hackers have already proven adept at infiltrating and exploiting security loopholes to steal data, and in this scenario could also lead to widespread evidence tampering. It’s vital that organisations using this technology tread carefully, and ensure they have the necessary security systems in place to  keep cyber criminals locked out.”

Josh Boer, director at tech consultancy VeUP said: “This is the latest example of AI reshaping critical functions, saving time and money by managing administrative tasks. The technology has huge potential to turbocharge the next generation of UK SMEs, providing crucial support in the back office. Yet far too many companies lack the skills and support to embrace it. That’s why its crucial that organisations get to grips with the latest generative AI capabilities, by embracing AWS and other key platforms, to boost growth through the cloud for the long term.”

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