IT advances much faster than the law. This causes some problems (e.g. criminal codes may need to be revised to keep up with new IT-based crimes), and it also creates a need for legal professionals to be kept up to date with the development of IT tools in their daily practice. These challenges are clear in relation to AI, and it is for this reason that the EU, in the e-Justice Action Plan for 2019-2023, considers AI “as one of the major developments in information and communication technologies in recent years and should be further developed in coming years. Its implications in the field of e-Justice need to be further defined.”
This need is specifically mentioned in relation to lawyers, as can be seen from the e-Justice Action plan, which considers as a priority (project listed as number 11) the “drafting of a guide on the use of Artificial Intelligence by lawyers in the EU”. AI policy has long been on the agenda of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). Briefly, in addition to the CCBE conference on Artificial Intelligence and Humane Justice held in Lille in November 2019, the CCBE has contributed to the formulation of the European Ethical Charter on the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Judicial Systems and their Environment, adopted by the Council of Europe Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) in December 2018. The CCBE is also a member of the Commission’s Expert Group on liability and new technologies, and in 2016 published an e-book entitled “Innovation and Future of the Legal Profession in Europe” which critically assesses and evaluates the opportunities and threats facing the legal profession and justice systems in the coming years. In 2020, the CCBE published its “considerations on the legal aspects of AI” and in 2021 it published its “position paper on the Artificial Intelligence Act”.
With the AI4Lawyers project, which is co-funded by the European Union (Justice Programme), CCBE and ELF aim to address three major needs which form the main objects of the project, as follows: