The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in law has again become of great interest to lawyers and government. Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) have played a significant role in the provision of legal information via the Web. The concept of ‘free access to law’ is not static, and its principles now require a LII response to the renewed prominence of AI, possibly to include improving and expanding free access to legal advice. This overview of one approach, from justification to implementation, considers the potential for AI-aided free legal advice, its likely providers, and its importance to legal professionalism. The constraints that ‘free’ imposes lead to the potential roles LIIs may realistically play, and suggested guidelines for development of sustainable systems by free access providers. The AI-related services and tools that the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) is providing (the ‘DataLex’ platform) are outlined. Finally, ethical (or governance) issues LIIs need to address are discussed.
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