A Canadian province has become one of the first jurisdictions in the world to require lawyers to tell the court if and how they have used artificial intelligence (AI), according to the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales.
The new practice direction by the Court of King’s Bench of Manitoba on the use of AI in court submissions comes into effect immediately.
The direction states there are “legitimate concerns about the reliability and accuracy of the information generated from the use of artificial intelligence”.
It continues: “To address these concerns, when artificial intelligence has been used in the preparation of materials filed with the court, the materials must indicate how artificial intelligence was used.”
The Gazette says that the direction was signed by chief justice Glenn D Joyal to cover the province, which has around 2,000 lawyers, mostly based in the capital Winnipeg.
It quotes local associate Simon QK Garfinkel as saying that the practice direction is a proactive step towards addressing the challenges posed by generative AI in the legal field by promoting transparency in the court.
“Additionally, the direction sets a precedent for other jurisdictions to follow, encouraging similar initiatives to regulate AI use in legal proceedings,’ he adds.
The Gazette says that the intervention of the Manitoba judiciary will be closely watched by other jurisdictions grappling with how to ensure transparency and fairness in the courts.
Last week in New York, a US judge imposed sanctions on two lawyers who submitted a legal brief with six fictitious citations generated by the 'large-language-model' tool ChatGPT.
The lawyers and their firm were ordered to pay US $5,000 in total after being found to have made “acts of conscious avoidance and false and misleading statements to the court”.
A similar episode has already happened in England, where a litigant in person presented case citations in Manchester County Court which were generated by ChatGPT but which were fictitious.
On that occasion, the Gazette reports, the judge did nothing more than disallow the submissions and unofficially reprimand the litigant.