In January 2024, we introduced the topic of AI integration into Australian courtrooms, and today we take a more comprehensive look at this issue.


Last year, we saw a law firm representing an airline employ ChatGPT to craft a legal argument, citing six fictitious cases. Amongst the court responses, “A submission filed by plaintiff’s counsel in opposition to a motion to dismiss is replete with citations to non-existent cases.” To comment that this law firm was reprimanded by the court would be an understatement. This event served as the first important lesson for the legal community regarding the risks of Generative AI.

A Repeated Pattern

Fast forward to February 2024, further issues surfaced in the US Court of Appeal where a self-represented litigant resorted to citing fake legal cases in their court filing generated by AI. The court remarked, “Particularly concerning to this Court is that Appellant submitted an Appellate Brief in which the overwhelming majority of the citations are not only inaccurate but entirely fictitious.” The repercussions were severe; the appeal was dismissed, and the appellant was ordered to indemnify (pay) the opponent’s legal expenses.

Again, at the beginning of 2024, a lawyer submitted a memorandum filled with fake citations. When pressed by the court for an explanation, the lawyer said he had “no idea” where the cases came from. Further investigation revealed that the lawyer had delegated the task of sourcing relevant precedents to colleagues who relied on AI. The lawyer apologised to the judge for the fake citations and expressed regret for failing to “exercise due diligence in verifying the authenticity of all caselaw references provided by the [AI] system”.

Broader Lesson

In an era of rapid technological advancement, lawyers should keep their finger on the pulse. The onus lies on lawyers to exercise due diligence, particularly when submitting documents to courts. Blind faith in AI not only invites judicial punishment as provided above, but also jeopardises the fidelity owed to clients.

As the legal landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology is inevitable. However, it is important that the integrity of the legal process remains untouched.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.