HCR Law Events

8 September 2021

How does technology and AI affect legal cases?

As technology advances, the legal system has to evolve, as with every other sector – one of the latest developments to affect legal cases is artificial intelligence (AI).

AI in the legal context usually means using the latest technology in relation to the disclosure process – where each side has to disclose potentially thousands of documents, a mammoth task to read individually.

E–disclosure platforms are now available using AI technology, and documents are increasingly provided electronically. We have had considerable experience of this use of AI, including in High Court cases in the manufacturing and pharmaceuticals sectors and our work with technology providers means that we can make use of the advances in AI for our clients.


What is disclosure?

When parties in dispute begin proceedings, they are required to disclose to each other documents which support their case and are relevant to the issues in dispute, along with documents which could adversely affect their position. This process must be completed for all claims except those judged to be small claims.

We all use technology on a daily basis whether it is posting to LinkedIn, sending emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, checking our social media, drafting documents, accessing hard drives, archives or taking phone calls – all of these (and more) will create electronically stored information (ESI) which could potentially be relevant to a future dispute.


What is e-disclosure?

E-disclosure is the efficient management of collated ESI within litigation. Electronic data is searched, preserved, captured and processed in a way that allows it to be used as evidence.


What is an e-disclosure platform?

An e-disclosure platform is a powerful and indispensable tool in the e-disclosure process which enables an effective review of a vast amount of data and information efficiently and effectively. It is usually cloud-based and enables a user to import all captured data in varying formats for review. A review within an e-disclosure platform will allow the user to mark documents as relevant or not relevant, tag the documents to a specific issue, witness or expert, highlight sections of a document, redact sections of a document and make comments on a document.

An e-disclosure platform drastically reduces the time and costs of the disclosure process and has the benefit of deduplication, keyword searches, email threading, filtering, targeted searches, date ranges, analytics and AI. It is far more efficient than a team of lawyers having to manually review every single document which may or may not be relevant to the issues in dispute.


What is AI?

AI refers to any human-like intelligence exhibited by a computer or other machine. It is the ability of a computer to mimic the capabilities of the human mind by learning from examples and experience, understanding and responding to language, solving problems, making decisions or recognizing objects or patterns.

The most interesting developments in AI which are relevant to dispute resolution enable a document review of hundreds of thousands of documents to be controlled, tactical and efficient by using a wide range of data-driven analytics.


Why is this important?

Until very recently, the option of using an e-disclosure platform to assist with a document review was limited to those cases which were of high value or particularly complex as the costs connected with such a service were significant.

Now technology has advanced sufficiently to make e-disclosure platforms accessible to a wide range of users and their use is likely to continue to expand, taking AI to the heart of the justice system.

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About the Author
Michael Goodwin, Senior Associate

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