Courts Can't Rely On ChatGPT To Adjudicate, But AI Can Assist Processes

AI tools can assist with legal processes, but not replace human touch in adjudication, say experts.

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The Delhi High Court recently ruled that ChatGPT cannot be used to adjudicate on legal issues, citing varying responses depending on how queries are framed. According to experts, generative artificial intelligence tools, however, can still assist in administrative work.

In its dispute with Indian brand The Shoe Boutique—Shutiq, French fashion label Christian Louboutin attempted to use a ChatGPT response to support its argument about design infringement. However, the high court changed the way they asked ChatGPT a question and received a different response than what the French company was claiming. 

That, according to the court, showed that such tools are influenced by user inputs and can be manipulated to give biased answers. The court ordered against relying on them in legal proceedings.

ChatGPT was still at a very nascent stage and very dependent on user inputs to arrive at a conclusion, and as such there is still a situation of a big margin of error, said Suadat Ahmad Kirmani, partner at Induslaw.

Before the ruling of the Delhi High Court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court employed ChatGPT to understand the legal principles related to granting bail in cases of severe assault or unusually cruel assault. However, Justice Anoop Chitkara made it clear in his order that ChatGPT's response was intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the case and should not be considered as an opinion on the merits of the case.

AI feeds on information available on the internet and the responses depend upon a host of factors, including the nature and structure of query put by the user, said Saudat Ahmad Kirmani, partner at Induslaw. There are possibilities of incorrect responses, fictional case laws and imaginative data being generated, he said.

Another grave factor against using ChatGPT responses to adjudicate on legal issues lies with the presence of biased data over the internet. 

There have even been allegations of bias because of discriminatory material, which is available on the internet which the AI tool picks up, reads, and incorporates in its responses.
Suadat Ahmad Kirmani, Partner, Induslaw

Adjudicatory process cannot be in any way mechanical and there must be necessary application of mind of the adjudicators—the human element of understanding and reasoning must be there, Kirmani said.

Aviral Kapoor, partner at Alagh and Kapoor Law Offices, called the human element crucial in understanding the intricacies of each case, empathising with involved parties, and making judgments. "While AI can be a valuable tool, it should complement, not replace, human decision-making in the courtroom."

How AI Can Help Courts

While the AI tool may be lacking in adjudication on legal and factual issues, expects said it could still help with assisting in the adjudication process and in case management. 

Assistance using AI can prove helpful in live transcriptions, automatic scrutiny of filings or even in setting up chatbots for litigants and lawyers to resolve their queries, according to Shashank Mishra, partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

Kirmani said AI can also help in case management and organising files, making a preliminary compilation of laws on different subject areas from different states and countries, and assisting in arranging cases in a roster.

Since ChatGPT and other generative AI tools are very recent, other experts said that with some more time and development, the technology could become ready for even courtroom proceedings and adjudication.

The frenetic pace of the technology points to a future where AI’s shortcomings will in all probability be suitably addressed, said Abhay Chattopadhyay, partner at Economic Laws Practice. This, he said, will result in the dependability of such tools increasing.

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