AI guidance for judges in England and Wales warns against risks

A group of four senior judges from the United Kingdom have issued Judicial guidance for artificial intelligence (AI), which addresses the “responsible use” of AI in courts and tribunals.

The guidance, published on December 12, is aimed at magistrates, court panel members and judges in England and Wales, and aims to inform and warn judicial officers.

The guide points out potentially useful cases of use of AI, mainly in administrative aspects such as summarizing texts, writing presentations and composing emails.

England’s second most senior judge, Sir Geoffrey Vos, said AI offers “great opportunities for the justice system, but because it is so new, we must make sure judges at all levels understand.” [it properly].”

However, most guidelines warn judges to be vigilant about consuming false information produced through AI searches and summaries, as well as to be wary of anything false that AI produces on their behalf. The use of AI for legal investigations and analysis is particularly not recommended.

The guidance said that information provided by AI tools "may be inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or out of date." Additionally, she noted that US laws can influence most AI systems. "Even if it purports to represent English law, it may not do so."

As things stand, judges in England and Wales are not required to reveal any preparatory work before handing down a ruling.

According to the issuing judges, this guide is the first step in a “set of future work” to support the judiciary's interactions with AI. In future, the judiciary, both in courts and tribunals, will have the opportunity to conduct a survey and ask any questions.

Related: Microsoft faces antitrust investigation in UK over structure of OpenAI deal

This judicial guidance comes shortly after the United Kingdom held its Inaugural AI Safety Summit at the beginning of November.

The event brought together officials from countries around the world, heads of prominent space technology companies, and other thought leaders to discuss the future of AI security.

On December 8, the European Union reached an agreement on its landmark AI regulation, which addresses several facets of technology regulation, including government use, transparency requirements, and the regulation of powerful AI models like ChatGPT.

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