There is much speculation out there on the future impact of technology (including artificial intelligence) on the study, practice and administration of law. Much of that speculation is, with respect, hyperbole.
This paper argues that the past two decades of technological change has produced greater accessibility and convenience. The next decade will see technology empower ordinary people in the conduct of their legal affairs, a greater uptake of virtual technology, and experimentation with artificial intelligence and predictive technology. Members of the legal professions should not get too worried, however. Provided they approach change with a pro-active mindset and take advantage of new opportunities (in a manner consistent with legal principle), then there will be blue skies ahead.
BA LLB (Hon I) (UWA).
The author will be undertaking the LLM at the University of Cambridge in 2017-2018 (Davis McCaughey Scholarship, Cambridge Australia Scholarships).
A previous version of this paper received a High Commendation from the judging panel of the Australian Academy of Law Essay Competition 2016. The competition’s question was: ‘What effect have the advances in technology (including artificial intelligence) had upon the discipline of law in academia, the practising profession and the courts, and how may that effect change over the next ten years? What steps should be taken now to harness the benefits and limits of those advances?’
© 2012 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.