The Law Council of Australia has expressed its opposition to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in court, arguing that it cannot replace the human judgment and expertise of legal professionals.
The council’s president, Luke Murphy, said that lawyers would not be threatened by AI technology, but rather embrace it as a tool to enhance their services and efficiency. He said that AI lawyers could assist with tasks such as document review, research and analysis, however, would fall short in handling complex and nuanced legal issues that require ethical reasoning and advocacy skills.
Mr Murphy’s comments came after a US company, DoNotPay, announced that it had developed an AI lawyer that could represent clients in court without a human lawyer. The company claimed that this was the world’s first automated defence lawyer and that it had successfully challenged thousands of parking tickets and consumer complaints.
However, the AI lawyer’s attempt to argue a case in a federal court in California was blocked by the court officials, who threatened to jail anyone who recorded or broadcasted the proceeding. They also raised questions about whether the AI lawyer met the requirements for admission to the bar and whether it violated the rules of professional conduct.
The Law Council of Australia said that it supported innovation and technology in the legal sector, but it also stressed the importance of maintaining high standards of competence, integrity and accountability for lawyers. It said that AI lawyers had no place in court unless they complied with these standards and warned of the potential risks posed to clients’ privacy and confidentiality.