16 February 2016
In a judgment1 handed down today, Master Matthews has given judicial approval for the use of predictive coding during disclosure in English High Court proceedings.
Taylor Wessing, as acknowledged by the Master, played a pivotal role in assisting the court in concluding that the case before it was one in which predictive coding should be deployed by the parties during disclosure. In particular, the Master acknowledged the contribution of Mr Edward Spencer of Taylor Wessing in taking the Court through the significant cost-savings that can be achieved by the use of predictive coding. It is to be hoped therefore, that we have seen the birth of a new standard order that will be used in all cases where directions for the use of predictive coding are appropriate.
Master Matthews, co-author of the leading text on the subject of disclosure, considered the issues faced by parties when giving disclosure in the electronic age, and how technology can and should be deployed by them to reduce the associated costs whilst still complying with their disclosure obligations.
The parties in the present case had agreed the use of predictive coding but, in light of its relatively recent introduction into English litigation, judicial approval was sought. In granting his approval, Master Matthews noted that predictive coding is in use in other jurisdictions and evidence suggests that it is no less accurate than a traditional manual review process. Furthermore, a significant advantage of having a computer undertake the substantive review is consistency in decision making in the disclosure process. In this particular case, the number of documents to be reviewed, the predicted significant cost saving and the value of the claims meant that predictive coding was appropriate and would promote the overriding objective.
This case is a prime example of Taylor Wessing’s commitment to using technology to better serve the needs of its clients and reduce the cost of litigation.