‘Jolly useful’: Court of Appeal judge’s verdict on ChatGPT

Avatar photo

By Rhys Duncan on


Helps with legal research

A Court of Appeal judge has admitted using ChatGPT to help him prepare a recent judgment.

Lord Justice Birss labelled the AI programme “jolly useful”, citing its “real potential” for future use within the legal sector.

In a speech held at the Law Society, and subsequently reported on by The Law Gazette, Birss LJ is quoted as saying: “I think what is of most interest is that you can ask these large language models to summarise information. It is useful and it will be used and I can tell you, I have used it.”

The Cambridge grad, and former material scientist, did, however, clarify that he only used the AI programme after researching the area of law. “I know what the answer is because I was about to write a paragraph that said that”, he told the audience.

Speaking of responsibility for the contents of the judgment, the top judge went on:

“I’m taking full personal responsibility for what I put in my judgment, I am not trying to give the responsibility to somebody else. All it did was a task which I was about to do and which I knew the answer and could recognise as being acceptable.”

The 2023 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

But Birss LJ isn’t the first judge to employ the AI tool. As reported by Legal Cheek, a judge in Colombia hit headlines earlier this year when he used ChatGPT to assist him in solving a dispute between a health insurance company and the guardian of an autistic child.

Elsewhere, a US judge recently issued a joint fine to two lawyers involved in a case where non-existent cases were submitted to the court after ChatGPT was used for legal research.

Related Stories

Judge fines fake ChatGPT case lawyers

First major AI sanctions

Jun 26 2023 9:31am

Westminster Uni academic uses ChatGPT to pass contract law exam

But only just -- bot performs as an average law student, Dr Ioannis Glinavos finds

Mar 28 2023 9:14am