BAR codes similar to the ones used in supermarkets could transform US courts, thanks to a new invention by a London computer company.
A new system, invented by Valid Information Systems, will allow lawyers presenting cases to draw light pens over the bar code to flash up evidence such as fingerprints or X-rays of victims' injuries onto video screens around the courtroom.
The system, called R/KYV (pronounced 'archive'), was bought in March by the United States Attorney's Office, Atlanta, after being spotted at New York's Legal Tech Exhibition in January.
"We really are ahead of the Americans in the development of software, for document retrieval and presentation," said Bill Cannings, Valid's managing director.
"This system is a great convenience for the attorney and enables him or her to maintain unbroken eye contact with the jury. It's a great triumph for us, because within two months of launching this new software product, which we created in London, it has been accepted and welcomed by a major US institution."
Valid claims R/KYV provides a complete litigation package for lawyers faced by a mass of documents, from transferring paper documents into electronic form, to organising and presenting those documents in court. And the company received praise from Nina Hunt, Atlanta's US Attorney, who said its products were "well ahead of the competition".
Services provided by Valid include case design, indexing, scanning, micrographic conversion, training and ongoing support. Valid also guarantees to upgrade the software completely free of charge.