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ChatGPT: Paving The Way Of AI Into Courtrooms

Artificial Intelligence is being used by the people at large for various drafting, summarising, and research purposes. The newly developed bot ChatGPT has been in huge discussion among the people. Lawyers have also discussed the usage of the bot as a helping hand to the lawyers, and their paralegals. Various other robots have come to the fore that could present convincing arguments in the court of law and substantiate each argument with precedents and legislation.

This paper discusses the advantages of AI and the significance of technology to lawyers and paralegals. It analyses how AI could be incorporated into the courtrooms and the legal system with the help of the National Action Policy and Plan for incorporating ICT in the courtrooms. It analyses the pattern of usage of AI in Indian Courtrooms and the subsequent possibilities of the incorporation of AI in the court of law.

The paper has taken the opinion of various lawyers and judges regarding the usage of AI. The paper has also discussed the popular question: Whether AI could replace lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals? The paper mentions the possible threats that AI poses to our privacy and various other matters and highlights what amends are required in the laws so as to use AI extensively without any threat. The paper intends to form a conclusion that AI is expanding at a fast pace and laws are required for the regulation of AI.

Technology has made our lives easier. A decade or two ago, lawyers had to go through numerous books to look for a single precedent. Today, everything is available on legal databases and search engines. There are short keys that aid in searching for keywords. The facility of online filing and online proceedings has come to the fore. Today, lawyers could easily get arranged content on the internet for their arguments.

We are in the fifth generation of computers. In this era, technology has given a brain to machines. Humans, with their intellect, have artificially created intelligence. We have made neurons that are trained like human brains. The artificial intelligence of machines is faster and much more calculative than the minds of an average human being.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has helped lawyers, law students, legal researchers, and paralegals to a great extent. From detecting plagiarized content to detecting grammatical mistakes, AI has aided the officers of the court in arguing and presenting valid precedents in the courtrooms. Recently, a bot has been introduced by OpenAI called ChatGPT that could present convincing arguments, write essays, songs and do various other tasks easily within seconds.

ChatGPT: The Paralegal Bot

ChatGPT or Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer is a chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022. Through conversations with a chatbot, ChatGPT, a natural language processing tool, can produce content, images, and even code. It could generate speeches, songs, marketing copy, news articles, and student essays. It functions very much like the human brain, using networked "neurons" that can learn to recognize patterns in data and predict what will happen next.

On November 30, when the bot was produced for public testing, it came up with jokes. It wrote a five-paragraph essay on the symbolism of the green light in The Great Gatsby. It was able to mimic lawyers by presenting valuable and sorted precedents on same-sex marriage. It could even plan and schedule like a secretary.

OpenAI estimated ChatGPT had over a million users by December 4; by January 2023, it had astoundingly surpassed 100 million users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in the history of the world. The service initially works best in English but is also able to function in some other languages. The features of this bot can help people in every profession to a great extent. It could prove to revolutionize mankind both in good and bad ways.

On one hand, it could prove to aid professionals by sorting and arranging their research work. While, on the other hand, it might take the employment of the people who specialize in such stuff. It might pose a big threat to employment.

Technology in Courtrooms

The fourth generation of computers (1971-present) introduced Information and Communication Technology. We have been using telephone and mobile phones for communication for a very long time. We have used applications for video calling and video conferencing. Since 1990, efforts have been made to computerize some of the court's procedures in India. The second most populous country in the world with such a huge number of cases needed to sort and arrange the files.

The Indian judiciary's ICT enablement program needed to become mission-critical. There was a widespread understanding in the legal community that creating a national policy and action plan with the proper distribution and phasing to implement ICT in courts across the nation and their web-based interlinking was necessary.

In a letter dated July 5, 2004, addressed to the Minister of Law and Justice, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) proposed to the Central Government the formation of an E-Committee to help him develop a National Policy on the computerization of the Indian Judiciary and provide advice on managerial, technological, and communication-related changes. The Union Cabinet agreed that creating such a committee was a good idea and approved the proposal.

As a result, on December 28, 2004, the Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Justice) issued an office order creating the E-Committee, headed by retired Karnataka High Court Judge Dr. Justice G.C. Bharuka, along with three other expert members. The E-Committee was also tasked with creating an action plan with the proper phasing for a time-bound implementation of the national policy on computerizing the justice delivery system.

This Committee must also continuously review and assess the action plan regularly. The Report on Strategic Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology in Indian Judiciary was prepared by the E-Committee and delivered to the CJI on May 11, 2005. To determine the current status of the technology, the E-Committee also had extensive discussions with a wide range of ICT-related organizations, service providers, research and development experts, and top manufacturers. Its application concerns court-related procedures, pricing, accessibility, security, implementation, scalability, sustainability, change rate, and support systems.

The E-Committee framed the National Policy and Action Plan for its implementation over a period of five years from the date of its effective commencement based on the input received from people with expertise in various domains relevant to change management in the Indian Judiciary.[1]

The project aims to provide efficient and effective time-bound justice to the citizens. It envisages developing support systems in courts and automating the processes to provide transparency and easy accessibility to information. The objective of the project is to enhance the judicial productivity of India both qualitatively and quantitatively to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost-effective, predictable, reliable, and transparent.[2] The first e-court was opened in Hyderabad in 2016.

The pandemic era of COVID-19 (2020-2021) showed us the significance of technology. E-courts and e-proceedings became the new normal. Today, every professional is required to know using technology. CJI Chandrachud, while hearing the case of All India Association of Jurists v. Uttarakhand High Court,[3] said that it was disturbing that some high court chief justices are doing away with the technology set up for virtual hearings. He sent a strong message to the High Court CJs to not disband the hybrid hearing option as technology was not only for a pandemic time.[4]

Usage of AI by Lawyers and Law firms:

The Supreme Court of India has recently deployed an AI technology developed by a Bangalore-based start-up Technology Enabled Resolutions (TERES) to translate court arguments into text during the live proceedings of the constitution bench hearing on the Maharashtra political controversy. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal praised the technology as a milestone and a wonderful idea. Justice PS Narasimha stated that this will mean that the Supreme Court will be literally a "Court of Record" with every spoken word getting recorded.[5]

Recently, CJI D.Y. Chandrachud highlighted the significance of translating the judgments of the apex court into regional languages. He stated that the judgments are in complicated English terms and are unable to be deciphered by the people at large. Machine learning has been used to translate about 2,900 judgments of the Supreme Court into four languages- Hindi, Odia, Gujarati, and Tamil till now. Chief Justice of Kenya lauded India's ability to translate Judgements using AI.

CJI DY Chandrachud, analyzing the future of AI, stated:
"Do you see the screen? We're just trying to explore the possibilities of live transcript. It is an experiment. Then we will have a permanent record of arguments. Of course, it will help the judges and the lawyers, but law colleges can also analyze how arguments are made.

AI is being perceived to change the course of society internationally. Recently, Allen & Overy, a leading international law firm, has announced an exclusive partnership with Harvey AI to become the first law firm in the world to have enterprise-level access to generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is based on OpenAI's latest models.[6] Recently, using the AI tool- ChatGPT, Justice Anoop Chitkara, in Punjab and Haryana High Court, was able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the bail laws that apply when an attacker commits a cruel assault.

AI is being used extensively by people in the field of law. There are websites that save hundreds of hours. There is a website called ELI5 (Explain like I'm Five). It simplifies complex topics using AI so that even a child can understand them. This could be used by clients to decode complex legalese. There is a website called NAMELIX that could generate a short brandable business name using AI.

It is a great tool for discovering new domain names. FLIKI creates videos from scripts or blog posts using realistic voices in a minute. It could even transform articles into videos. AI websites like AUTO DRAW and LOOKA could be used for drawing and making logo designs respectively. The EXCEL FORMULA BOT could create Excel and google sheets in seconds. There are AI bots that could serve ready-made PowerPoint presentations.

ChatGPT is one of the advanced forms of AI, that is extensively being used by all sections of society. It is also extensively being used by lawyers and law firms as it saves a huge amount of time. It gives sort of cooked content to the law personnel by giving convincing precedents. It quickly processes and analyzes huge data and provides relevant information to the lawyers, or the paralegals.

AI as a Replacement to Paralegals:

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate of India in Urban areas is 7.93% and the unemployment rate in rural India is 7.44%. We see frustrated youth marching for protests for want of employment. Technology has always seemed to be posing a threat to employment in India. This was first understood when the handloom industries were closed, and people were replaced by machines. Whether AI's efficiency in performing the tasks of paralegals quickly and easily poses a threat to the job of the paralegals is a highly debated question.

The hectic task of research has been simplified to a great extent with the help of AI. The lawyers and paralegals just need to type what case laws or content they need regarding a topic on Google or more recently ChatGPT and get plenty of data on that. Research papers, articles, journals, and other law goodies and resources are easily available online. AI has a self-learning capability to understand and decipher the meanings of words and sentences.

Plagiarism detection used to take hundreds of hours of the paralegals. The AI technology to detect plagiarism quickly has been a boon to advocates and law students. Grammar correction in the files has been made easier with the help of AI. Contract Drafting and summarising complex legal documents have all been made easier with the help of AI. There are websites that help us to paraphrase sentences and paragraphs.

However, the data available on various websites cannot be relied upon blindly. Although AI has been a mini paralegal to the lawyers, it is unable to replace the clerks of the advocates and the paralegals of firms. This is because research is still a process that requires skill. AI has been trained to sort and present all possible data. But, paralegals, clerks, legal researchers, and other law personnel have made mistakes and learned from their mistakes. They gain experience and make necessary corrections. Paralegals are the right hand of lawyers and law firms.

A similar debate aroused when computers were invented. Despite having computers, we needed pen and paper to write exams. We need schools and teachers to teach and train students. YouTube cannot inculcate values in a student. Technology has definitely made everyone's life easier. However, the fact that people have made technology cannot be ignored. People will be required at all stages to update the technology. People can replace technology; technology cannot replace people. The advancement of AI can only help paralegals to simplify their menial and hectic work. It is never intended to replace the paralegals.

Laws for AI in India:

Laws are made when a system tends to pose a threat to the security and integrity of the people and the nation. It is generally said that AI is at a very budding stage today and that we are yet to create strong AI that could be just like a human, and that'd be able to create other robots of its kind. Google is visited about 89.3 billion times a month. Google has 91.9 percent of the market share as of January 2022.

Google processes over 8.5 billion searches per day. Google Lens is used 8 billion times a month. According to a UBS study, ChatGPT is estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after launch, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.[7] There are other AI applications that are being extensively used by people to perform their tasks easily and quickly. AI is used in call centers to answer calls and talk to people in a customized manner. We can infer that AI is extensively being used in our day-to-day life.

With the extensive usage of AI, comes the need to regulate advanced technology. It may pose a serious threat to the privacy of the people. The AI algorithm may misguide the users. For example, say Google has control over all our personal and professional data. People have saved trade secrets and various other data on their Google Drive that may destroy them if that kind of information is leaked. AI is also being used in the medical field, where critical operations are being conducted by robots. There are robot-assisted heart surgeries.

AI is now being used in courtrooms. Robots are being assigned as police officers to look after the minor administration work. In 2019, Kerela Police inducted a humanoid police robot into the force named KP- Bot.[8]

The first and foremost law that is needed to combat the repercussions of AI is building a robust law to safeguard the privacy of people. In the EU, there is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to safeguard the privacy of the people. India recognized privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution in 2017 in the landmark case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (AIR 2017 SC 4161). Since then, efforts have been made by the Indian Government to make robust laws on privacy. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 is being analyzed by the Joint Parliamentary Committee. However, these laws are needed to be amended and updated according to the rapid spread and usage of advanced technology of AI.

The second most important law that is needed to be amended and updated as per the usage of AI is the Technology and Media Law (TMT). False news and fake content are being vastly spread on social media platforms. There are people who unintentionally spread fake news. It is suspected that there are AI bots that are used to make content and regulate them.

Recently, in the case of Whatsapp LLC v. Union of India, before the Delhi High Court, Whatsapp stated that tracing the first originator of fake content might be impossible as this would breach the privacy of every individual to whom the fake news has been sent.[9] With the extensive use of AI in social media, the Information Technology Act, of 2000 needs to be amended to include AI technology to combat the possible threats it poses in society.

The development of AI is going to change the paradigms of society in the near future. There will be robots, in abundance, that could talk and work just like human beings. Robots are arguing in the courtrooms like lawyers. The robots are acting like medical professionals who analyze the disease and suggest medications. The robots are actively participating in debates and presenting valid and strong arguments.

There was an incident when a robot broke the finger of a person who won a chess game against it. Recently, a robot called DoNotPay developed by a firm in Chicago was seen presenting arguments in a courtroom just like an advocate. It was later accused by a law firm of not having a lawyer's degree.[10] The day is not far when robots would be an inseparable part of our society.

These robots will sit with us in the Bar Council examination and write exams with us. There will be massive competition between the firms that manufacture various kinds of technology. Various concerns will arise with regard to Competition threats and sharing of patents.[11] Subsequently, all the laws would be needed to be amended or interpreted with respect to AI.

Analysis of the usage of AI in the courtroom:

A courtroom is a place of decorum where the lawyers and the judges make the application of laws, legislations, precedents, evidence, and facts to come to ensure justice for the people. The court clerks, court masters, the paralegals form an important part of the courtroom. Technology has eased the task of lawyers and judges to compile the data collected from thousands of books and papers in a paperless form. AI has aided paralegals, lawyers, and judges to easily access the information available in thousands of books and cases in minutes. Advanced AI is being used to do the job of court clerks. Paralegals do the job of researching and arranging the stuff for the advocates.

The present debate going on between the advocates is whether AI would replace the lawyers and the staff in the courtrooms. The possibility of AI bots replacing lawyers is next to impossible. A lawyer has the apt knowledge and specialization of laws. He listens to and understands his clients. He has feelings and works with compassion in the best interest of the client. For example, the symptoms, treatment, and home remedies of diseases are listed on the internet. However, we still require the diagnosis of a doctor for affirmation. Similarly, we have all the laws, legislations, and remedies available on the Internet

 Despite this, we need lawyers to understand our cause and help us get the solution to our problems. An AI bot can never advise like an advocate. A person may be a lawyer after studying law. But, feelings of empathy are what make a person a good lawyer. A robot can have knowledge of the law. But, without emotions, he is just the slave of written laws who could not think far from the ambit of those provisions.

Paralegals and other court staffs are the personnel who aid the lawyers and the judges to analyze and pass judgments. The one thing that every courtroom is very particular about is the decorum and discipline of the court. It is the professional ethics of a person in the court of law to respect seniority.

An AI bot can be trained to do so but without human feelings. Paralegals and clerks guide the clients of the advocate and attend to them. When we ask Google to search for precedent, it presents numerous websites. A paralegal on the other hand could sort and get the exact case law in a much more arranged form. AI might empower the paralegals in their hectic task of research. However, it might never be able to replace humans. Moreover, it might enlarge the employment opportunities for the people by giving them access to new technology.

There are people who prefer the conventional method of research. AI has eased the hectic task of research. It has helped researchers, paralegals, and lawyers to complete their tasks in minutes. It has given a wider and broader lens to the personnel to look at and analyze a situation from every aspect. The newly developed ChatGPT could prove to be of great help to legal professionals. It could actively help in research, drafting, and summarizing long legal documents. It can also assist lawyers in writing legal briefs. It has its own pros and cons.[12]

Building AI technology requires a lot of resources and effort. It is very expensive. Some legal professionals state that such advanced technology would take a lot of time to come to India. Justice Madan Lokur in his interview with Bar and Bench stated that it is too early to say something about AI robots as lawyers in India. He further mentioned that getting a robot to argue as a lawyer is not easy at all. A lot of training is required to build a mind like that of a lawyer, doctor, or any other professional.

However, the fact that AI is advancing to a great extent cannot be ignored. We need to start taking baby steps to include AI in our legal system. We need to make further amends and add the new technologies to the National Policy and Action Plan for ICT in courtrooms. Proper and robust laws are required for the regulation of AI. Moreover, amendments are to be made in every law so as to accommodate the vastly expanding technology.

  1. E-Committee Supreme Court of India New Delhi, National Policy and Action Plan for the implementation of Information and Communication Technology in the Indian Judiciary, 1st Aug 2005,
  2. E-Committee Supreme Court of India, E-courts Mission Project, (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Last updated- 9th Feb 2023) (accessed 23rd Feb 23).
  3. All India Assn. of Jurists v. High Court of Uttarakhand, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 3336.
  4. Padmakshi Sharma, CJI DY Chandrachud's Strong Message To HC CJs: Don't Disband Hybrid Hearing Option, Technology Was Not Only For Pandemic Time, (LiveLaw, 13th Feb 2023) (accessed 23rd Feb 23).
  5. Padmakshi Sharma, Supreme Court Utilises AI To Make Live Transcriptions Of Its Hearings, (LiveLaw, 21st Feb 2023) (accessed 23rd Mar 23)
  6. Shreya V., Can generative AI be a game-changer for the legal industry? Allen & Overy becomes the first law firm to partner with Harvey AI. (Bar & Bench, 17th Feb 2023) (last accessed, 29th Mar 23).
  7. Krystal Hu, ChatGPT sets record for fastest-growing user base - analyst note (Reuters, 2nd Feb 2023) (Last accessed, 31st March 23)
  8. Express News Service, Kerela Police gets a robot to receive visitors (Indian Express, 20th Feb 2019) (Last accessed, 12th April, 23).
  9. Delhi High Court, Whatsapp challenges Intermediary Rules, says traceability will break end-to-end encryption, breach privacy; Union of India says no Fundamental Right is absolute (SCC Online, 27th May 2021) (Last accessed, 12th April, 23).
  10. Stephanie Stacy, Robot Lawyer DoNotPay is being sued by a law firm because it does not have a law degree (Business Insider India, 12th Mar 2023) (Last accessed, 12th April, 23).
  11. KR Srivats, Digital Competition Act: MCA-appointed inter-ministerial panel to begin deliberations (The Hindu, 19th Feb 2023) (Last accessed, 12th April, 23).
  12. Bhavya Bhatt, How can lawyers leverage ChatGPT for their practice? (Bar and Bench, 28th Jan 2023) (Last accessed, 12th April 23).

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