Barristers warned against risks of ChatGPT

The Bar Council has released new guidelines for barristers regarding using AI tools, such as ChatGPT, which can enhance legal services. However, the guidelines advise caution and risk assessment due to potential risks that AI systems can pose, including infringement of intellectual property rights, breaches of confidentiality and privileged information, and the generation of misinformation. The Bar Council is concerned about the risks of anthropomorphism, stereotype reinforcement, and bias on some AI platforms, as well as the occurrence of “hallucinations.”

The guidelines cite a UK case in which an AI system presented nine legal “authorities” that were all fabricated. The irresponsible use of AI can lead to professional negligence claims, breaches of contract, defamation, data protection infringements, and damage to reputation. The guidelines stress that new software should complement and enhance human processes rather than replace them. According to Sam Townend KC, Chair of the Bar Council, barristers knowledgeable about these systems can use them with integrity and control, as growth in AI tools is inevitable in the legal sector.

Any application of AI must prioritise client confidentiality while adhering to legal and ethical standards, maintaining trust, confidence, privacy, and compliance with applicable laws. The Bar Council guidelines outline vital considerations and risks, supporting barristers in adhering to legal and ethical standards as the legal and regulatory landscape evolves.

Source: Legal Cheek



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