SFO using AI to replace lawyers

By Dr David Cowan

11 April 2018 at 07:29 BST

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is using Artificial Intelligence to replace work carried out by lawyers following its successful use in Rolls-Royce investigation.

AI replacing lawyers at SFO alexskopje

A new AI document review system is being used by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on all casework from this month, leading to the processing of half a million documents a day. The system will eventually replace work done by independent barristers. AI technology leads to quicker investigations, reduced costs and a lower error rate than the work done by human lawyers, the SFO stated.

Successful robot pilot

A pilot “robot” was  used to scan for legal professional privilege content in the SFO’s Rolls-Royce case at speeds 2,000 times faster than a human lawyer. Building on this success, ‘Axcelerate’ a new AI powered document review system from OpenText, is now being rolled out alongside the robot, enabling SFO case teams to target their work and time better in other aspects of investigative and prosecutorial work. Previously, only independent barristers were used to comb through thousands of complex documents to identify evidence that could or couldn’t be seen by SFO investigators prior to them even beginning to sift through the documents themselves.

Not an option

Apart from recognising patterns, grouping information by subject, organising timelines and remove duplicates, the system will eventually be able to sift for relevancy and remove documents unrelated to an investigation. SFO’s Chief Technology Officer, Ben Denison said, “using innovative technology like this is no longer optional, it is essential given the volume of material we are dealing with and will help ensure we can continue to meet our disclosure obligations and deliver justice sooner, at significantly lower cost. The amount of data handled by our digital forensics team has quadrupled in the last year and that trend is continuing upwards as company data grows ever larger.”


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