ISYS and System@Law
Court Help Close Final Chapter of Bond Collapse
The last round in the failure of the Bond Corporation
is now being fought out in South Australia's oldest courtroom by litigants
armed with Australia's newest courtroom technology, based on the ISYS
search engine. Shareholders of the Southern Equities Corporation Ltd
(the Bond Corporation) have brought proceedings against the company
auditor, Arthur Andersen & Co in the Supreme Court of South Australia.
The proceedings are being conducted in South Australia's
oldest courtroom, refurbished to maintain its heritage character while
incorporating state of the art technology. Systematics Pty Ltd has been
engaged by the litigants to implement System@Law Court, which is driven
by an ISYS retrieval engine, to provide the most advanced hearing automation
environment yet to be put in place in Australia.
System@Law Court is one of the System@Law suite of legal
knowledge management products produced by Systematics. During the hearing
it is used to display images of documents to the witness and court.
The System@Law Court environment also manages the hearing record, including
tracking the tendering process and transcript along with additional
material such as cited cases, court rules and procedural documentation.
The entire case documentation is available within the
courtroom. Each party has access to their own data as well as public
and court documents. Each participant has his/her own email address
within the Systems@Law environment. This allows all involved to email
each other or email the outside world while the case proceeds. System@Law
Court also features a court calendar and other administrative facilities.
The system, while housing all the documentation of the
case, acts as the mechanism through which this information is treated
in the hearing. The operator can publish documents to specific people
or everyone upon request. For example, if a witness is giving evidence
and questions need to be asked about a specific document, the operator
publishes that document to both party's computer screens, the judge's
screen and the witness's screen, so that everyone can view it at once
and follow what is being discussed. This has the effect of producing
a virtually paperless hearing.
ISYS:web is seamlessly integrated into Systems@Law Court,
allowing ISYS to be used to search all manner of documents. Primarily
though, ISYS is used for interrogation of court transcripts.
"ISYS was easy to implement and is an important part
of the entire process," said Ian Chivers of Systematics. "Particularly
in searching transcripts, the ISYS search function provides real benefits
to all parties involved."
This case is expected to run for approximately two years
and within that time will generate literally thousands of pages of transcript.
Transcripts are loaded into the system and all parties can perform complex
searches on the entire contents. Search by word, phrase, proximity or
date and immediately all references over thousands of pages of the case
come together with hit highlighting and hit-to-hit navigation.
When there are so many pages of detail there is no possible
way that any one person can keep events clear in their minds. A single
person's testimony can last weeks at a time and during a cross-examination,
a barrister generally has a single chance to address important aspects
of evidence. With ISYS accessing the transcript, solicitors have the
ability to offer up rebuttal points in real time. A search with ISYS
can pull from the thousands of pages all references to a single point
of contention, allowing barristers to catch out witnesses or support
earlier statements on the spot.
This ability to cross-reference and collate information
in seconds also proves to be of substantial value when closing statements
are being composed. With hit-to-hit navigation, lawyers can skip from
relevant area to relevant area, quickly assessing a thread of evidence
or discussion and incorporating this into their argument.
ISYS also searches procedural documents (documents submitted
in the lead up to the case) and the statements of claim.
"The integration of ISYS:web technology from ISYS Search Software
provides a powerful free text search capability over all appropriately
formatted materials," said Mr Chivers. "The use of free text
searching has proved a valuable tool in the management and analysis
of transcript, evidence and procedural documentation."