National Accident Helpline has announced both winners for its 2023 annual law competition. The essay competition invites law students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level to submit answers of up to 1,200 words in length for a chance to win a cash prize and be crowned the 2023 Future Legal Mind.
The winners will also receive a mentoring session with NAH’s experienced lawyers as well as a £500 prize for the runner ups.
This year’s essay question, inspired by the insights of Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls, asked participants to contemplate the potential for AI to replace human judges and the associated benefits and drawbacks.
This year’s Future Legal Mind Question: Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls, has said there is a “real possibility that AI may become more intelligent and capable than humans” and that robots could even one day help resolve court disputes. To what extent do you believe AI could ever replace the role of human judges? And what would be the benefits or potential drawbacks of integrating artificial intelligence in this way?
Emily Eastburn-Pentreath from Birkbeck, University of London’s, creatively engaged ChatGPT-3.5 in her winning essay, with the AI less than convinced in its own ability to replace human judges, highlighting its own lack of “consciousness, awareness, or personal confidence”.
Emily correctly pointed out that, as AI shares the same mindset as humans, it too recommends approaching technology with caution.
Speaking about her win, Emily said: “Winning the competition feels fantastic. It has given me more confidence to write and speak about an area that interests me, and I’ve developed skills that I’ll bring into my future career as a solicitor.”
Also studying at Birkbeck, University of London, our undergraduate winner Stephanie Anais’s winning essay highlighted the issues behind the technology. Stephanie argued that “AI judges will in fact not improve access to justice as the organisations behind AI technologies cannot be trusted to police themselves, as well as the inevitable backlog created by mass appeals to a human judge which brings in to question any potential efficiency savings”.
Stephanie said the Future Legal Mind competition offered her the opportunity to “combine a love of writing and structuring legal arguments” and hopes her win will show “her devotion to becoming an outstanding lawyer”.
John Kushnick, Legal Operations Director at National Accident Helpline, says: “The Future Legal Mind Competition offers aspiring lawyers a unique opportunity to voice their opinions on the pressing issues within the legal world. At a time when AI dominates headlines, this is a fast-moving area of law that is already impacting every part of society.
“We encouraged students to look beyond those headlines and consider the real and tangible benefits AI could bring the legal sector, with winning entries demonstrating a deep understanding of the challenges facing the legal sector today and the realistic solutions.”
Last year’s Future Legal Mind winners, Syed Adil (Undergraduate) and Matthew Johnson (Postgraduate), addressed pertinent legal questions and set high standards for this year’s participants.
Their essays were centred on “Now that the UK has officially left the EU, what legal changes would you recommend making over the next ten years?” and “Is the UK court system fit for purpose, and what role should other alternative forms of dispute resolution play?” respectively.
For more information about Future Legal Mind and the National Accident Helpline, please visit the National Accident Helpline website.