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National law firm harnesses the power of AI at STFC's Hartree Centre

13 May 2020

A redacted document

A redacted document (PDF, 121KB)
(Credit: Weightmans)

National law firm Weightmans is to harness the power of artificial intelligence and data analytics expertise at the Hartree Centre, at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, in an effort to overcome the complex and labour-intensive challenge of redacting confidential data on legal documents.

Redaction is the removal of sensitive and confidential text or images from an original document by blacking out individual words, phrases, or paragraphs. It requires a great deal of time, attention and skilled effort to ensure that no errors are made, as failing to do so can have significant consequences. 

In a £100,000 project, funded by STFC’s Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme, Weightmans is harnessing the leading artificial intelligence expertise and supercomputing power at STFC’s Hartree Centre to develop a new legal redaction tool that will both reliably and accurately carry out the automatic redaction of sensitive data on documents.

Based on the development of highly complex mathematical algorithms and the application of expertise in AI, this tool could reduce dramatically the significant time, cost and resources associated with doing type of work manually.  If successful, this new solution could also have a significant impact across the entire legal and other professional services sectors within the UK. 

Stuart Whittle, Director of Innovation at Weightmans, said: “We are delighted to have secured this B4I funding support from STFC to uncover the potential of artificial intelligence technologies to solve this challenge which thousands of law firms and other businesses face. This project will further improve the quality of our service, offer additional support to our clients and crucially free up our experts’ time to spend on legal and commercial advice. We look forward to working with the specialists at the Hartree Centre to hopefully develop a product which could revolutionise the industry.”

Andrew Gargett, AI Team Lead, at STFC’s Hartree Centre, which is located at Sci-Tech Daresbury, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to work with Weightmans, a major innovator in the legal tech space, on a particularly significant and complex issue faced by a variety of legal and other professional service organisations. This enables us to employ the full range of artificial intelligence expertise and resources the Hartree Centre has available to address such challenges.” 

B4I is an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) programme run by STFC to support UK industry in a bid to boost productivity. B4I offers businesses in kind funding for projects that tackle specific innovation challenges with unique access to a suite of world-leading, high-tech scientific facilities, with extensive support from scientific and technical experts with the knowledge to fast-track solutions. Find out more at the website.

To support the B4I programme, STFC's Hartree Centre is currently hosting a series of webinars on digital transformation, which can also be viewed retrospectively.  These webinars, which explore how businesses can adapt products and processes using supercomputing, data analytics and AI, are a fantastic opportunity to refresh or build on digital knowledge, and understand how digital technologies are transforming industries.

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Last updated: 13 May 2020


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