British judge taps ‘jolly useful’ ChatGPT for part of his ruling

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A British Court of Appeal judge used ChatGPT to summarise an area of law that he was familiar with, then included the answer as part of his case ruling.

The artificial intelligence chatbot was “jolly useful”, Lord Justice Colin Birss said.

At a conference held by the Law Society in Britain, Lord Justice Birss was reported by the British media 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.”

He said he took “full personal responsibility” for what he put in his 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.”

This is the first-known use of ChatGPT by a British judge to write part of a judgment, according to the British media.

The judge also said the tool should not be relied on for topics one knows nothing about, reported Sky News.

According to the website on courts and the tribunals judiciary, Lord Justice Birss was called to the Bar in 1990 and practised intellectual property law.

He was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and Deputy Head of Civil Justice in 2021.

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