The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that it will be using artificial intelligence (AI) to take on legal casework, which will automate the process of document analysis. The new technology system Axcelerate will be provided by OpenText and is expected to cost roughly £12 million over its lifespan of 7 years, which is offset by the savings it is forecast to make. This AI system was previously deployed in the UK’s first criminal case to make use of AI technologies, SFO vs Rolls-Royce PLC.
The SFO claims that it will speed up the legal investigation process, reduce costs and be more efficient reducing the human error rate. The technology is estimated to be 80% cheaper than engaging outside legal counsel to review submitted documents to identify the privileged material. It has the capacity to process more than half a million documents a day and was used in the SFO’s Rolls-Royce case, at the time the largest SFO investigation ever.
In that instance there were over 30 million documents submitted for review, the AI system was able to analyse and process the information 2,000 times faster than a human lawyer and assisted significantly in the SFO’s successful prosecution. The outcome of that case resulted in Rolls-Royce paying out £671m to the SFO.
AI Lawyer Will Not Mean Job Losses
The SFO has asserted that the use of AI will not result in job losses but will instead lighten their workload and enable case teams to better target their work and time in other aspects of the investigative and prosecutorial work.
Previously, barristers would have to painstakingly examine documents to identify material that could or could not be viewed by SFO investigators prior to them beginning their investigation. This new AI document review system will be able to identify patterns, group information by subject, organise timelines and remove duplicates.
SFO’s Chief Technology Officers, 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.”
Vice Chair, CEO and CTO of OpenText Mark Barrenechea, said:
“Advances in AI technology, the ability to review and analyse vast amounts of information, and provide timely and meaningful insights will forever change the way the legal profession operates.
“The Serious Fraud Office is leading the way in the use of digital.”