14 December 2023

Disputes Quick Read – 5 of 88 Insights

First of its kind judicial guidance on the use of AI in the courts

On 12 December 2023, four senior members of the judiciary issued the first judicial guidance on the use of AI in the courts in England and Wales.

This followed a consultation process with various judicial office holders. Judges will be allowed to use ChatGPT to perform some of their tasks provided they follow the guidance on how they are being permitted to use it. This guidance comes after a number of reports where AI is already being used in the judicial system and the cautionary tales of lawyers in other jurisdictions relying on fake cases caused by AI's "hallucinations" and other chatbot disasters. There is nothing in the guidance to suggest that we are any closer to having AI decision-making by the courts. This might be a relief given the lack of confidence some practitioners currently have in the accuracy of the functionality and the risk of error. That said, this marks the first step in the future of how the judiciary intends to work with AI to support its function.

What does it say?

There is nothing particularly surprising in the guidance. It refers to the need to uphold confidentiality and privacy and the risk of inaccuracies and bias in using any AI tool. It recognises the limitations of AI tools, explaining the risks attached to the process of how they generate output. It positively identifies areas where it could be usefully deployed including summarising large bodies of text, writing presentations and carrying out some administration texts including composing emails.  It is not recommended for the purposes of legal research or legal analysis so we are clearly a long way from AI generated judicial legal reasoning.

It includes pointers which may alert the court to the fact that material has been produced using AI chatbots and where it may be appropriate to enquire what checks for accuracy have been undertaken.  This is particularly in the context of unrepresented litigants who may be relying solely on material generated by AI tools.

As the guidance acknowledges, other AI tools are already successfully used in the court particularly in the context of electronic disclosure. The message its therefore very much an embrace of new technology but with a warning to judges to be vigilant about the risk of false information being produced  both through their own use of these AI tools and the use of other court participants.  The guidance recognises AI's value stating that  "Provided these guidelines are appropriately followed, there is no reason why generative AI could not be a potentially useful secondary tool".

This guidance is described as the first step in a "suite of future work" to support the interactions of the judiciary with AI so we can expect more such guidance in the future as generative AI technology develops. It is a clear demonstration of the continuing adaptability of the judiciary and the courts to an ever increasing use of technology in all its forms – albeit with some caution.

Find out more

To discuss the issues raised in this article in more detail, please reach out to a member of our Disputes and Investigations team.

In this series

Disputes & investigations

Internal investigations - raising the bar

1 May 2024

by Andrew Howell

Disputes & investigations

New SFO Director announces bold plans to tackle fraud

21 March 2024

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

What are the litigation trends for 2024?

1 February 2024

by Katie Chandler, Emma Allen

Disputes & investigations

ClientEarth v FCA: Challenging Regulator Decisions

12 February 2024

by Tim Strong, Nicole Baldev

Disputes & investigations

First of its kind judicial guidance on the use of AI in the courts

14 December 2023

Disputes & investigations

The use of AI in Trial Witness Statements post-PD 57AC

23 October 2023

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Failure to prevent fraud – a new offence?

14 August 2023

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Supreme Court rules that APP fraud victims cannot rely on Quincecare Duty

4 August 2023

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: ClientEarth refused permission to pursue directors of Shell

1 June 2023

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

CJC costs review – what will change?

1 June 2023

by James Bryden, Helen Robinson

Disputes & investigations

Embargoed judgments – dos and don'ts

16 May 2023

by Stephanie High

Cryptoassets, blockchain and distributed ledger technology

Disputes Quick Read: New obligations on cryptobusinesses to report under the UK sanctions regime

9 August 2022

by Nick Maday

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: New gateway for serving Norwich Pharmacal Orders and Bankers Trust orders out of the jurisdiction

Welcome news for those pursuing fraud claims in the English Courts

28 July 2022

by Emma Allen, Samantha Brendish

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Care required when drafting SPA claim notices

23 September 2020

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Tomlin Orders – ensuring the confidentiality of settlement terms

27 April 2020

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Commercial Court's arbitral power shift

21 February 2020

by Andrew Howell

Disputes & investigations

Disputes quick read: pilot error?

13 February 2020

by Andrew Howell

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Privilege waiver warning

2 July 2020

by Tim Strong, Georgina Jones

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Dealing in crypto? Be careful what you call it

7 April 2022

by Multiple authors

Call To Action Arrow Image

Latest insights in your inbox

Subscribe to newsletters on topics relevant to you.

Subscribe
Subscribe

Related Insights

Disputes & investigations

Introduction of football regulator on hold for now

24 May 2024
Quick read

by David de Ferrars and Joe Pengelly

Click here to find out more
Disputes & investigations

Proposed changes to the rules on ADR

20 May 2024

by Elizabeth Montpetit and Natalia Faekova

Click here to find out more
Employment, pensions & mobility

AI and the workplace: seeking a balance of power with the TUC's AI Bill

15 May 2024
Quick read

by Kathryn Clapp

Click here to find out more