In a landmark High Court ruling, the use of predicting coding (or machine learning) has been admitted in a litigation disclosure exercise.

In the present case, an order has been secured to use predictive coding technology as part of a substantial document review. Such technology works by first being fed a small “seed set” of documents, e.g. provided by a lawyer, with the predictive coding then analysing a much larger set of documents, based on the characteristics of the seed set, to determine which of the larger set is worth a lawyer reviewing. As will be appreciated, this enables a much larger set of documents to be analysed than would currently be feasible by lawyers alone.

Thus, as predicted by my colleague, Alex Robinson, only yesterday, artificial intelligence is already being used to help lawyers in their professions. However, we should not get too worried, at least at this stage, that we will all lose our jobs and be replaced by robots. Instead, as has been shown by this case, and as I predict will happen increasingly in the legal profession (among others), is that such artificial intelligence will actually become an extra string to our bow in helping us to perform our jobs more effectively, thus leaving us to the creative side of things in crafting better arguments, for example.


“Predictive coding, or machine learning technology, has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of the e-disclosure process. It has been gaining wider acceptance in the UK recently although it has been used for several years in the US.”