The potential for predictive coding to save time & costs!

26 July, 2018

Predictive coding can be used in litigation to help with the document review process in order to reduce time and costs.


Predictive coding is a machine-learning algorithm which learns why documents are being categorised in a certain way. It learns this from a sample of documents which have been reviewed by a lawyer. The information that the system learns from the sample documents can then be applied to all documents that need to be reviewed. Any relevant and irrelevant documentation can automatically be sorted without having been reviewed by human eyes.


In a recent case, law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP), used predictive coding to achieve a successful result in the High Court for their client, BCA Trading (BCA). The case involved an unfair prejudice claim and an extensive document review was required to prepare for trial.


Earlier in proceedings, BLP obtained a court order that allowed them to use predictive coding despite opposition from the other side. This culminated in a 12 day High Court trial where BLP achieved success for their client.


BLP have identified benefits to the use of predictive coding both in terms of cost and accuracy. They say that as a result of using this process they were ‘able to significantly reduce’ their clients costs.


BLP have also highlighted how this case has shown that ‘predictive coding can be deployed effectively during litigation’.


Predictive coding is widely used in the US, however, to date it has made slow progress in the UK, mainly because of concerns around missing critical documents in the review process. But surely machines are more accurate than human eyes which sift through documents for hours at a time?


This case is a significant development in the use of technology in the English legal system and promises benefits both in terms of accuracy and cost. It is therefore likely that the use of predictive coding will become much more prevalent in litigation in the future. However, using predictive coding in this manner is in its infancy and treated with caution by some.


Case: David Brown v BCA Trading Limited