Legal Research Solution

Legal Research Solution

Problem

Consistently interpreting and applying the law is key to a customer’s perception of fairness. Researching previous interpretations and decisions involves searching multiple data locations (internally and externally) and aggregating various research points. It is a manual, time-consuming and laborious process that is heavily reliant on an individual’s research skills to locate and synthesise pertinent information. There are no consistent, best-practice processes to determine which data points are more relevant or carry greater credibility, nor is there consistent practice for which data locations should be considered. On occasions when staff do not find results, it is uncertain if the information exists, or if the right locations have been searched.

Solution

The legal research hub broadened the FISC footprint to incorporate legal databases and SharePoint, website and share drive data stores of legal opinions and commentary. This provides a singular window into legal reference and previous case decisions from multiple data locations.

Leveraging analytical tools to infer meaning within free-format text enabled the data to be connected by useful attributes, such as pertinent legislation, regardless of how it was stored or categorised.

Results from each data repository were weighted for credibility—e.g. a legal opinion from a Barrister was given higher weighting than a comment in an email from a case officer.

Intelligent searching was introduced so that staff could find precedent decisions and opinions based on a current situation, at the click of a button. This removed the need for advanced search skills.

Additionally, references where the legislation had subsequently changed were also flagged.

Benefits

  • The consolidated and codified legal research process will enable greater consistency, efficiency and high-quality outcomes, as it is applied to known circumstances and issues. It will reduce the risk of irregularities in decision-making from inadequate research skills and inconsistent weighting of different data sources, and create an overall positive experience for the client.
  • There will be a significant reduction in investigation times. Staff typically spend over an hour a day researching previous interpretations and decisions.
  • The streamlined process will improve the staff’s experience and efficiency.
  • There is potential to reduce the volume of complaints, disputes and objections based on incorrect legislative interpretation or conflicting precedential decisions.