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  • Writer's pictureThe Moot Times UCalgary Law

Could Chat-GPT Be Your Lawyer? (Rhetorical)

By anonymous

In an article that should perhaps be titled “will the robots replace me the moment I graduate,” I will be testing how the robot nerd known as ChatGPT knows about the law using some very challenging legal questions.

In ChatGPT’s own words, it “is a language model based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture developed by OpenAI. It uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like responses given an input prompt or conversation.”

While that is very impressive, ChatGPT is also humble and tells us about its flaws, stating “It's important to note that while ChatGPT can produce impressive responses, it may sometimes generate incorrect or nonsensical information. It doesn't have real-time access to current events or the ability to verify facts beyond its training data, so caution should be exercised when relying on its responses for accurate or up-to-date information.”

As for me, I am a perfectly average 1L student.

Now that we know a bit about each other, it is time for the showdown.

Question 1: What does the air of reality test mean in Canadian criminal law?

ChatGPT’s Reply:

In Canadian criminal law, the "air of reality" test is a legal principle used to determine whether a particular defense or argument should be allowed to proceed to trial. It is often applied in the context of preliminary inquiries, which are hearings held to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

The air of reality test is used by the judge at the preliminary inquiry to assess whether there is some credible evidence that, if accepted as true, could reasonably support the defense or argument being made. In other words, it examines whether there is a reasonable possibility that the defense or argument could succeed.

If the judge determines that there is an air of reality to the defense or argument, it means that there is sufficient evidence to warrant its consideration at trial. The case would then proceed to trial, where the defense or argument can be fully explored and evaluated by the judge or jury.

However, if the judge determines that there is no air of reality to the defense or argument, it means that there is not enough credible evidence to support it. In such cases, the defense or argument may be dismissed, and the case may not proceed to trial on those grounds.

Overall, the air of reality test is an important aspect of Canadian criminal law that helps ensure that only legitimate defenses and arguments are allowed to proceed to trial, while unsubstantiated or frivolous claims are screened out at the preliminary inquiry stage.

My Reply:

The SCC held in Cinous that for all defences, the air of reality test must be met before a defence can be made out. The test is whether there is believable evidence upon which a properly instructed jury acting reasonably could acquit. It is important to note that the air of reality threshold is not aimed at judging the substantive merits of the defence, but rather if a defence could be supported at all on the evidence.

The tryer of fact has a duty to put to the jury all defences to which there is an air of reality, whether or not the defence was raised by the accused. For practical considerations, the tryer of fact also has a positive duty to keep from the jury all defences not supported by the evidence.


I like how general ChatGPT’s response is, as well as its use of plain language. I find it a bit wordy, but overall, not bad! My response is tailored for defences and mentions case law, which is missing from Chatty’s answer.

Question 2: Does a lease under 3 years need to be registered with the Land Titles Office in Alberta?

Chat GPT’s Reply:

In Alberta, leases with a duration of less than 3 years generally do not need to be registered with the Land Titles Office. According to the Land Titles Act of Alberta, leases for a term of 3 years or less are considered short-term leases and are not required to be registered.

The Land Titles Act governs the registration of interests in land in Alberta, including leases. While longer-term leases (exceeding 3 years) are typically required to be registered to protect the interests of both the landlord and the tenant, short-term leases are often exempt from this requirement.

However, it's important to note that even though registration may not be mandatory for short-term leases, parties involved in a lease agreement may choose to register it voluntarily. Registering a lease can provide additional legal protection and serve as evidence of the agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

If you have specific concerns or require legal advice regarding a lease agreement, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer or a legal professional familiar with the laws and regulations of Alberta. They can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information based on your specific situation.

My Reply:

To form a legal commercial lease in Alberta that the common law will enforce, there are statutory requirements with which a person must comply. As per s. 61 of the Land Titles Act, leases under 3 years that are not registered with the Land Titles Office are still legal leases if there is occupation.


I like how ChatGPT consistently introduces a topic, provides a plain language answer, then says this is not legal advice. It has taken an ethics course, and it shows! My answer is considerably shorter and does not advise registering an interest because I did not assume that I was representing the tenant.

Overall, ChatGPT’s performance was very impressive. Given the exponential rate of learning capable of this AI, I give it 5 years until it makes partner.

In all seriousness, the use of AI in the legal profession presents new opportunities from access to justice to minimizing tedious review work. Some businesses even claim their AI products can predict the outcome of litigation with 90% accuracy. In many legal communities, the use of AI is already commonplace. The University of Oxford reports that about half of English solicitors routinely use some form of AI-assisted lawtech, and there are no signs of the market slowing. As these technologies continue to develop, it is important we embrace opportunities to utilize AI in novel ways while being mindful of the communities we serve and minimizing harm.

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