AI helps Serious Fraud Office accelerate investigations

The Serious Fraud Office is using artificial intelligence (AI) in the fight against economic crime.

According to the SFO, the technology automates document analysis, allowing it to investigate cases more quickly, reduce costs and achieve a lower error rate than through the work of human lawyers alone.

The decision follows a live pilot in the Rolls-Royce case, which at the time was the SFO’s largest investigation with 30 million documents submitted for review, and was the first use of artificial intelligence in a UK criminal case.

A pilot ‘robot’ that can process more than half a million documents a day was used to scan for legal professional privilege content in the case at speeds 2,000 times faster than a human lawyer.

Building on this success, Axcelerate — a new AI-powered document review system from OpenText — is now being rolled out alongside the robot. This will enable case teams to better target their work and time in other aspects of investigative and prosecutorial work, the SFO said.

Not only will the new AI document review system be able to recognise patterns, group information by subject, organise timelines and remove duplicates, it will eventually be able to sift for relevancy — removing documents unrelated to an investigation.

“AI technology will help us work smarter, faster and be more effective in prosecuting economic crime,” commented Ben Denison, chief technology officer at the SFO.

“Innovations like OpenText Axcelerate will help our investigators to sift through the hundreds of thousands of documents we receive every day and focus on delivering justice sooner, at significantly lower cost.”

The SFO will begin managing all new cases with the technology from this month, with one case already exceeding Rolls-Royce in size, with over 50 million documents requiring review, and another larger than both cases combined.

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