The Law Society of England and Wales has set out its vision for the “important role” that the legal profession must play in the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), including the implementation of standards and regulation.
“We encourage the Government to adopt a nuanced, balanced approach to the development and use of AI with the legal sector, to enable the profession to make the most of these technologies,” said Law Society President Lubna Shuja in response to the government white paper on AI regulation.
“The rule of law and the legal profession will also have an integral role in shaping the future of AI regulation.”
“AI’s potential to transform lives, boost the economy and increase access to justice must be recognised,” Lubna Shuja continued.
“However, clarity is needed on how any discrepancies across sectors and regulators will be mitigated. We also need guidance on how the legal profession can extend its services overseas and navigate the differing AI legislation across jurisdictions.
Our recommendations aim to firmly establish those frameworks within the legal sector, bringing clarity for our members and placing their expertise and experiences at the forefront.”
In response to the consultation, which was launched in March, the Law Society has made several key recommendations, including:
- The UK Government should introduce a blend of adaptable, principle-based regulation and firm legislation. This balanced approach would establish a comprehensive safety net, safeguarding societal interests while not impeding technological progression.
- Legislation focusing on and clearly defining what ‘high-risk contexts’ and “dangerous capabilities” are. This would establish parameters where the use of AI is unacceptable or where it is inappropriate for AI to make zero-sum decisions. The Government should also set out a definition for ‘meaningful human intervention’ in AI.
- Organisations of a certain size, operating in high-risk areas, or those developing an AI system with dangerous capabilities should appoint an AI Officer.
- Expertise of the legal profession should be recognised and harnessed in the AI regulatory approach.
- Legal professional privilege must be protected in the future regulation of AI.
- Drive economic growth by requiring companies to provide clarity on procurement practices; communicate a clear position on intellectual property and AI; and provide targeted support for SMEs.
- The UK Government should identify and support the role of insurance providers, and facilitate collaboration among insurers, businesses, technologists, consumer rights or experienced organisations, and regulators to cover AI-related risks and uncertainties.
- Mandating transparency for the use of AI in government or public services and establishing a due diligence system to boost public trust.
- Broad cross-sector and international alignment to reduce divergence, duplication, and fragmentation.
- Build the UK workforce and regulator capability to take advantage of AI opportunities.