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The High Court, in a multi-million dollar case concerning alleged breaches of directors’ duty in the hotel and leisure industry, where over three million documents had to be considered for relevance and possible disclosure, has approved the use of predictive coding software, involving only a limited manual review of the results, for the purposes of e-disclosure. This is the first occasion that a judgment of an English court has expressly considered and endorsed the use of such software for the purposes of providing disclosure in civil procedure.

In granting his approval for this process, at the instigation of the Fourth Defendant, Master Matthews noted that predictive coding was now used in other jurisdictions and that it appeared to be no less accurate than a manual review. He found that there was no evidence that predictive coding led to a less accurate disclosure than manual review or keyword searches plus manual review. He also considered that there would be greater consistency in using a computer. Approval of the use of predictive coding, in this case, would promote the overriding objective set out in Part 1 of the CPR.

The full judgment can be read here:  http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2016/256.html

Andrew George QC was instructed by Taylor Wessing on behalf of the Fourth Defendant.

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