It is hard to miss in an ever-changing world the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI)...

With the release of programs such as ChatGPT, it makes many wonder how AI will be integrated into different fields of work and law is no exception.

The question of whether judges could be replaced by AI is both complex and controversial and it is important to note that it is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The role of a judge goes beyond applying the law to a specific case. A judge must interpret laws, consider precedents, assess evidence and apply moral and ethical reasoning. Such tasks involve human judgement, critical thinking and a deep understanding of legal principles and societal norms. AI at present simply lacks the ability to replicate comprehensive judgement and reasoning that a judge would be able to do. Another issue is that the legal system relies on accountability and the lack of this could undermine public trust in the legal system as AI would not be able to be held accountable for their actions.

Juries play a vital role in assessing evidence, providing a fair judgement and representing the public. Although AI can assist with tasks such as document analysis and the prediction of case outcomes, AI lacks human judgement and the ability to consider context. The potential biases of AI systems also raise concerns as they are only as good as the data that they are trained on, and if the data is biased or incomplete, the decision could be flawed. While AI could aid jurors by providing information, the final decision is likely to remain with juries.

Lawyers require skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, empathy and the ability to understand and navigate complex legal scenarios. AI is currently lacking the nuanced understanding, creativity and judgement that human lawyers possess. Legal cases often involve complex and unique situations that require contextual analysis, interpretation of the law and consideration of ethical and moral dimensions. Lawyers also play an essential role in counselling clients, advocating their interests and representing them in court, which requires human interaction and communication skills. Human lawyers are also subject to professional codes of conduct and must act in the best interest of their client which is unable to be replicated by AI.

A newly developed legal research AI is called Harvey AI and can assist legal professionals in conducting legal research, analysing cases and identifying relevant information. The goal of Harvey AI is to assist professionals in saving time with research tasks, enabling them to focus on higher-level tasks.

The future is more likely to see a collaboration between AI and legal professionals rather than AI taking over the judicial system.