All posts in News

Predictive coding: taking the world by storm!

australia-1296727_960_720

First the United States, then Ireland and England, and now Australia.

On a day to day basis, many of Kroll Ontrack’s clients use predictive coding to speed up their review and find key documents quickly in investigations and disputes. Predictive coding is a machine learning technology used in document review exercises, which learns from the decisions made about documents and applies the learning to documents which have not yet been reviewed to suggest (or “predict”) which ones are most likely to be relevant.

This technology has been used in US litigation for a number of years and has been approved by the US courts for almost as long. Other common law countries are now following suit.  Although European companies have been using predictive coding for just as long as Americans, until recently we didn’t have court approval to confirm that litigants can cut their review sets for discovery or disclosure purposes by relying on predictive coding to say which documents are unlikely to yield anything of interest. I was excited when this changed in March 2015, when the High Court of Ireland provided the first European approval of predictive coding in Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd & v Quinn.   I was sure that the UK would be quick to follow and approve the use of such technology, which it did in February this year when the England and Wales High Court in Pyrrho Investments Ltd v MWB Property Ltd.

When I wrote about the Australian jurisdiction in Kroll Ontrack’s recent New Frontiers in Ediscovery report, released in September this year, I said:

“Popular newcomers, such as predictive coding are not nearly as common in Australia as they are in other jurisdictions. However, since predictive coding has become to be more accepted and judicially approved in several jurisdictions over the last few years, including Ireland and the United Kingdom, Australia is likely to follow.”

It followed quicker than we could have expected. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the Australian State of Victoria, in the case of McConnell Dowell Constructors v Santam, used the above cases in other jurisdictions as persuasive authorities to approve the use of predictive coding to reduce the number of documents to be reviewed for discovery in a dispute. This was based on a recommendation from the appointed Special Referee rather than a motion by one of the parties.

We should expect to see further use of predictive coding in Australia, as an operating procedure for predictive coding has been integrated into a new Technology in Civil Litigation Practice Note SC Gen 5, which will come into effect in January 2017.

I’m proud that Supreme Court of Victoria (my own home jurisdiction) is leading the way in Australia and has delivered an early Christmas present to us legal technologists out there!

For a more detailed look at how predictive coding is used in practice, check out our recent video.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.

IBA Conference 2016: See you in DC!

capitol-building-543598_960_720

The International Bar Association’s Annual Conference is one of the highlights of the international legal calendar with over 6,000 delegates from around the world attending. We are delighted to be exhibiting once again and are looking forward to meeting existing clients and new faces.

The 2016 conference is being held in Washington DC and unsurprisingly, has attracted a prestigious panel of leading legal, financial and political figures including such as former US Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde and Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S Mueller, III. If that wasn’t a star-spangled enough line up,  our very own Hitesh Chowdhry has been invited to speak on a panel on Thursday 22nd Sept at 10.45am in Balcony B, Mezzanine Level.

Entitled ‘Recalls, reputations and repeat business: bringing companies and their products back from the brink of disaster’, Hitesh and his fellow panellists will be discussing the many essential considerations arising for companies and their in-house counsel in the midst of reputational crises fuelled by an urgent (typically global) recall of products from consumers.

The panel will present real-world recall examples and the companies and lawyers who were in the trenches, as well as true to life case studies in this interactive and vibrant session, with a focus on the winning legal, communications and public relations strategies that bring companies and their products back from the brink of disaster.

Members of our EMEA team will also be based at booths 40 and 41 and will be available to answer any electronic evidence-based questions you may have. We will also be launching the second edition of our New Frontiers report, which is bigger and better than before. Come say hello and get your copy hot off the press!

 

Brexit and data protection

Flag_of_Europe.svg

As the world contemplates the ramifications of the EU referendum, we’ve speculated as to how Brexit might change the way our clients handle data transfers in litigation and investigations.

What legislative regime would govern the UK?

The UK currently operates under the Data Protection Act 1998, which was enacted to bring British law in line with the EU Data Protection Directive (DPD). Since Britain has voted to leave the EU it is likely that the Data Protection Act 1998 will remain unchanged at least during the transition period.

For businesses operating solely within the UK, this means business as usual. However, things become complicated when a business needs to transfer data to or from another European country.

The EU is currently in the midst of replacing the General Data Protection Directive with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and had Britain voted to remain, British businesses would have had to comply with this new, tougher legislation which includes:

  • Increased fines, up to 4% of the annual global turnover
  • A “Privacy by design” provision requiring that data protection is designed into business services. Companies will need to ensure they are adopting measures to protect data right from the start of a client engagement.
  • Explicit consent being obtained for the collection and processing of data.
  • The appointment of an independent Data Protection Officer.
  • A “Right to be forgotten”. A client has the right to request the erasing of personal data. Companies will need to take steps to understand how they can comply with such a request.
  • A prohibition on data being transferred outside the EU without approval from the relevant supervisory body.

However, Brexit is not simply a case of “in” or “out” and much of the potential consequences of leaving depend on whether or not Britain becomes part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or completely severs ties.

If Britain becomes part of the EEA, this would afford Britain the same status as other European countries such as Norway and Iceland. This would mean it would be designated a ‘safe area’ under the GDPR.  In business terms, this would make data transfers somewhat easier, assuming the EU found the UK’s safeguards to be appropriate.  However, this would mean that the UK would still be subject to the DPD and from May 2018, the GDPR, when transferring data across borders to comply with legal obligations in other countries.

An EU-UK Privacy Shield?

If the UK does not become part of the EEA, the UK would probably have to negotiate an agreement similar to the EU-US Privacy Shield in order for UK companies to continue to transfer data between the UK and countries in the EU.

In this scenario it is likely the Article 29 Working Party would suggest similar terms to the US:

  • An ombudsman to handle complaints from EU citizens about the UK security services accessing their data.
  • UK Security services / the Home Office to provide written commitments that Europeans’ personal data will not be subject to mass surveillance.
  • An annual review or audit to check the new system is working properly.

The Upshot

Data protection legislation is changing regardless of the outcome of the referendum and British businesses need to be prepared for these changes. Until the UK finalises its data protection regime and comes to an agreement with the EU, companies need to think carefully about the risks of transferring data across European borders. However, business does not have to come to standstill; law firms and companies can rely on Kroll Ontrack’s mobile ediscovery solution and network of European offices and data centres to continue to process and transfer data in Europe in a compliant and cost-effective manner. We have always catered for the data protection needs of our clients as they take all laws and regulations into consideration.

Brexit: Our position

Although the results of the referendum are clear, the full impact of Brexit on data transfers in litigation and investigations is dependent on whether or not Britain becomes part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Free Trade Association.

If the UK becomes part of the EEA and the EU finds the UK’s data protection safeguards to be appropriate this would make transferring data outside of the UK easier. However, it is likely that businesses will still have to comply with the new requirements to be implemented under the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, when transferring data across borders to comply with legal obligations in other countries.  Both legal mechanisms and technology solutions are relied upon in these situations to safeguard the personal data of European citizens.

If Britain does not become part of the EEA, the situation is more complicated and it is likely that an arrangement similar to the EU-US Privacy Shield would need to be agreed.  This will provide a safe passage for the transfer of data between the UK and other countries in Europe

Until the UK finalises its data protection regime and comes to an agreement with the EU companies need to think carefully about the risks of transferring data across European borders.  Business does not have to come to a standstill; law firms and companies can rely on Kroll Ontrack’s mobile ediscovery solution and network of European offices to continue processing and transferring data in Europe in a compliant and cost-effective manner.   We have always catered for the data protection needs of our clients as they take all laws and regulations into consideration.

 

Our German Document Review Centre is now open

Review Room Pic 3 edited

Following the continued success of our London document review centre and unprecedented demand from European clients, we have now opened our purpose-built document review facility in Germany, located just outside of Stuttgart.

Stuttgart is a city renowned for being home to leading high-tech corporations, financial services providers and law firms, making it a natural location for our services. As Stuttgart boasts excellent transport links, clients from cities inside and outside of Germany are only a train ride away.

Key facts

German-qualified lawyers with a global outlook

Our pool of review lawyers are primarily from Germany and qualified at German law schools, meaning they are experts on German law and are often native German speakers. However, many of our review lawyers speak second or third languages and have extensive experience working at leading global firms.  At the moment, our document review centre is a little like a condensed version of Europe with current reviewers speaking and reviewing documents in  German, English, Spanish, French, Romanian and many other languages!

Designed with reviewers in mind

Our success in London has partly been down to the reviewer-focused way in which our facility is managed and designed and we have followed the same principles in Germany. Our document review centre provides lawyers with comfortable, ergonomic workstations as well as dedicated kitchens and break areas where it is possible to relax and make personal phone calls (mobile phones are not allowed in the review rooms).

As well as the facilities, our document reviewers receive a warm welcome and are invited to take part in socials and networking events alongside our permanent ediscovery team.

Details such as these have proven very popular with review lawyers and have enabled us to attract and retain the best review lawyers in the business, which in turn retains old clients and attracts new ones.