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The role of Artificial Intelligence in litigation

Monday May 20, 2024

litigation

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in litigation cases has had increasing attention. This blog delves into the current use of AI in litigation and explores its potential future uses.

How is AI Already Used in Litigation?

1. Disclosure

In modern commercial litigation, disclosure is predominantly electronic. As the volume of electronic disclosure expands, AI-based tools have become crucial in managing the demands on resources, time, and costs.

One of the most extensively used AI tools is predictive coding. Predictive coding uses machine learning algorithms to identify potentially relevant documents during disclosure exercises. The process begins with human reviewers selecting a ‘seed set’ of example documents. The algorithms then analyse the features of these documents – such as keywords, phrases, and metadata – and the coding decisions made by the human reviewers. Based on this analysis, AI identifies and ranks similar documents by relevance.

Predictive coding was first endorsed by the English courts for use in High Court litigation in 2016. The procedural rules were introduced in their current form in 2019, explicitly contemplating the use of predictive coding. 

  1. Legal Research Databases

A crucial aspect of preparing litigation submissions and advising clients involves identifying relevant case authorities and legislative or regulatory provisions. Given the vast number of judgments reported annually in England and Wales, manual review alone is no longer practical. Many commercial cases produce judgments spanning hundreds or thousands of paragraphs.

To address this challenge, legal research databases use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms similar to search engines to maximise the relevancy of search results. These tools map users’ searches to corresponding words and phrases within the database’s documents.

3. ‘Robot Lawyers’

Currently, drafting pleas, witness statements, and other court documents is almost entirely a manual process however, AI tools have existed for several years to assist in preparing relatively non-complex claims, such as certain consumer claims.

For example, in 2015, a ‘robot lawyer’ service was launched to automatically generate documents contesting parking tickets based on user input. This service has since expanded to include hotel complaints and flight compensation.

How Might AI Be Used in Litigation in the Future?

4. Enhancing Legal Arguments and Expert Opinions

As previously mentioned, AI is already used in preparing legal arguments, such as through legal databases during the search process. In the future, AI tools specifically designed for litigation are likely to play a broader and more direct role in preparing legal arguments and related tasks, such as cross-examination preparation. This will likely involve identifying relevant case authorities and legislative provisions, detecting inconsistencies in witness statements, and pinpointing key disclosure documents on specific issues. 

AI also has numerous applications in preparing expert evidence, including analysing patterns in data sets. For instance, AI tools are already used in the construction industry to identify building defects through photographs or videos.

5. Electronic Courtroom

In recent years, particularly since the pandemic, hearings in commercial disputes have largely become electronic. However, the selection of documents for use in these hearings remains a manual process. As AI technology in disclosure becomes more sophisticated, AI tools will likely further automate the hearing process, including document selection.

Moreover, other courtroom aspects may become entirely electronic. Existing applications using AI speech technology can transcribe human speech without needing a human transcriber. As such tools become increasingly sophisticated and reliable, they will likely be adopted in courtrooms.

Conclusion

AI already plays a significant role in litigation, and its influence is set to expand. Just as AI continues to evolve and reshape various industries, its impact on litigation will be substantial, driving efficiency in legal processes. 

However, AI is only as good as the legal team behind it. If you need assistance with a litigation matter, contact CWC Solicitors who will be more than happy to help.

AI is only as good as the legal team behind it. If you need assistance with a litigation matter, contact CWC Solicitors who will be more than happy to help.