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Serious Fraud Office unveils ‘Robo Lawyer’



AI powered system reviews 30 million documents in pilot case

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has begun to use an artificial intelligence (AI) powered robot, dubbed ‘Robo Lawyer’, to upgrade its document analysis capability.

It has developed a pilot robotic system using OpenText’s Axcelerate AI powered document review system to help its case teams target their work and time.

The first deployment has been in scanning for legal professional privilege content in the SFO’s investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at motor manufacturer Rolls-Royce. This involved the analysis of an estimated 30 million documents at speeds 2,000 times faster than could be achieved by a human lawyer.

Previously, only independent barristers have been used to comb through thousands of complex documents to identify evidence that could or could not be seen by SFO investigators before they began their own sifting.

The SFO now plans to use the technology in all new cases, one of which is already likely to exceed the Rolls-Royce investigation in the number of documents to be reviewed.

It said the new AI system can recognise patterns, group information by subject, organise timelines and remove duplicates, and will eventually be able to sift for relevancy and remove documents unrelated to an investigation.

Smarter and faster

SFO’s chief technology officer, Ben Denison said: “AI technology will help us to work smarter, faster and more effectively investigate and prosecute economic crime.

“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.”

The organisation added that law enforcement bodies from overseas have asked to share its experience of the technology.

Image by Nick Amoscato, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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