What are the legitimacy & illegitimacy of using AI in legal advisory, dispute resolution and ruling works?
Artificial Intelligence “is a generic technology that aims to improve the well-being of individuals, contribute to dynamic and sustainable global economic activity, stimulate innovation and productivity, and help to face major global challenges. Applied to the field of justice, artificial intelligence is most often associated with predictive justice and would aim at creating a new form of justice. It goes without saying that the stakes are high and therefore require a certain number of guarantees in order to be beneficial to all citizens.
Lastly, two cases stand out, demonstrating the development of artificial intelligence in the legal field:
- The start-up DoNotPay, which developed a chatbot specialized in legal services, announced that its AI would be able to plead for the first time in a court of law in the USA. The case was about a traffic violation, which the defendant would defend alone, accompanied by his smartphone where the artificial intelligence would have been installed. The chatbot that was supposed to play the role of a lawyer was based on ChatGPT’s technology, which is far from being infallible at the moment. Nevertheless, the CEO recently announced the cancellation of his project following numerous warnings from legal authorities; and
- In Colombia, a judge admitted to using ChatGPT to make a decision. He asked whether, under current laws, an autistic child’s insurance should cover all the costs of his or her medical treatment. After verifying ChatGPT’s responses, the judge included these answers in the court order. He said that ChatGPT would now do what was previously done by “a secretary” in an “organized, simple, and structured manner” that “could improve response times in the court system”. He also said that: “judges are not fools, it is not because we ask questions to the ChatGPT that we stop being judges, thinking beings”.
It is therefore imperative to question the impacts of the use of AI in the legal field.
The legal sector is very particular. First of all, it is difficult to generalize: each case must be studied on a case-by-case basis. AI may therefore come up against difficulties of interpretation in complex cases and transcribe erroneous answers. Then, there is a risk of seeing the disappearance of the profession of the lawyer who provides precise and technical legal advice. Finally, there is a considerable risk in terms of data analysis, indeed, we can fear that these data could be accessible to malicious persons. This could undermine professional secrecy.
AI would not only have disadvantages but also advantages. Indeed, it already saves a considerable amount of time in searching for information, whether for lawyers or judges. Moreover, it could help judges to examine cases more quickly by assisting them, which would reduce the waiting time of the litigant in front of jurisdictions that often work in slow motion.
However, it is essential to be very careful with this tool. Indeed, a New York lawyer recently came in for heavy criticism following a court submission in defense of one of his clients. The lawyer cited case law that did not exist after seeking help from ChatGPT. The judge in charge of the case was never able to find the legal source of the case law cited and confused the lawyer in question. The lawyer had to apologize and will be sanctioned shortly for this blatant failure.
In conclusion, it is important to put things in their place and to remember that AI cannot replace but only assists legal professionals. It is therefore important to be vigilant about the improvements that will be made in the future.