In a surprising revelation, Lord Justice Birss, a Court of Appeal judge in the United Kingdom, has openly admitted to using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, to draft part of a case ruling.
The judge used the AI chatbot to summarise an area of law, and then copied and pasted the response.
Lord Justice Birss said: “I asked ChatGPT can you give me a summary of this area of law, and it gave me a paragraph.”
While Lord Justice Birss praised the tool’s efficiency, he also emphasised the importance of not relying on AI for unfamiliar subjects. He was keen to point out that he already knew the answer and so was able to judge whether the response given by the AI was acceptable. Essentially, it was used as a tool to speed up the drafting of the judgment.
AI-driven tools are increasingly used for legal research, contract analysis, and document review tasks. This incident highlights the evolving role of AI in the legal field and raises important questions about its limitations.
The judge also described the AI chatbot as “jolly useful” for providing a summary of the legal context he needed.
Legal professionals must exercise caution when employing AI tools, especially in critical decision-making processes. Relying on AI-generated content can lead to serious consequences and it is important to note that AI may not have the latest response or position in an ever-changing field.
Lord Justice Birss asserted that he still took full personal responsibility for the content of his judgment, stressing that he was not attempting to shift responsibility onto the AI tool.
The incident underscores the importance of responsible AI use and the need for legal professionals to maintain a keen sense of judgment in their work.
As AI continues to advance, the legal community must strike a balance between harnessing AI’s potential and upholding the principles of legal practice.