Courtroom computers cut costs

Simon Rogers

A LONDON firm has used computer technology in the courtroom to reduce costs by over u40,000.

The firm acting in Bankers Trust & Others v Arthur Andersen and G Capital v Bankers Trust & Others – consolidated cases relating to management buy-outs – used UK imaging and transcription technology to store thousands of documents on computer disk. The computer reads the documents through a computer scanner.

Gouldens, which acts for Watermeadow Holdings, says it has saved around u40,000 in copying costs alone by using the technology.

The system has cut back on the number of staff required to prepare and sort court papers and made locating the correct paragraph in legal documents much quicker.

The case is the first time UK imaging system Rkyv (pronounced 'archive') from Ymijs ('images') has been used in a live court case. The Gouldens team of solicitors and counsel used the system in conjunction with Smith Bernal's LiveNotes transcription package, which was made available to the whole court.

Talks between Gouldens and the other firms in the case over sharing the same technology hit snags.

Lawyer Stephen Pearson says the other side were suspicious of the new technology and were worried about confidentiality. However, all the parties to the case used technology of some sort in court.

"It was an extremely useful aid, both for ourselves and for counsel in terms of trial preparation," he says.

The technology was used primarily for its speed at interrogating large numbers of documents. Pearson estimates there were 62,000 pages on the system – just for Gouldens.

Ymijs founder Bill Cannings says "Because of the way the technology works, almost as soon as they have access to the case, the lawyers have access to the documents. We've not been involved with lawyers for more than two years but the pace at which they have adapted to it is incredible."