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Perspectives on 'Pyrrho' and TAR: 6 Months Later

Sam Bock

August 17 marks the half birthday of the Pyrrho decision that approved technology-assisted review (TAR) in the UK for the first time and made waves among e-discovery communities on both sides of the pond.

So what has everyone had to say? Let’s take a look at the industry’s thoughts on Pyrrho and the lasting impact it’s already having on e-discovery—and get some first-hand perspectives from the practitioners behind the case.

Media Coverage

In the months following the decision, the story has gotten plenty of media coverage not just on the case itself, but on its impact on case law in the UK and the e-discovery industry at large. Clearly, TAR is catching on. Here are a few articles we think capture a range of reactions:

Corporate Counsel, March 11, 2016: The UK TAR Decision: What It Means for Corporate Counsel

Following his original coverage of the case on The Relativity Blog, David Horrigan discussed the impact of Pyrrho on corporate legal teams. In complex commercial litigation, he notes, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find a case that doesn’t have at least some international data. For corporate counsel with business around the world, there are now three jurisdictions where TAR is approved by the courts. This means all of that international data need not be handled via slow, manual processes.

The Lawyer, April 18, 2016: Does Pyrrho Signal the Rise of the RoboLawyer?

TAR does not signal the end of lawyers, but it is a sign that corporate clients are increasingly seeking more balanced, tech-forward strategies to support the full portfolio of their legal needs. The pressure is on to manage their costs without sacrificing consistency and quality, and TAR can be one way to achieve that goal.

Legaltech News, May 20, 2016: TAR in the UK: In First Contest Over Use, Court Allows Predictive Coding

Following Pyrrho, another UK decision allowed the use of TAR. A key difference between this dispute and Pyrrho is that in Pyrrho, the parties agreed to the use of TAR, while in this recent case—Brown v. BCA Trading, Ltd—the party didn’t agree.

Ultimately, this ruling offers two important takeaways: that even if the party resists, courts could still approve TAR under the proper conditions; and that those conditions might include a case with a smaller number of documents.

First-hand Insights

Last month, we sat down with members of the case team supporting the defendants in Pyrrho. Edward Spencer, an associate at Taylor Wessing, and Steven England, senior e-discovery advisor at Millnet, shared their perspectives on the case and its significance.


How have you experienced the impact of Pyrrho in the months since the ruling made news? Let us know in the comments or @kCura on Twitter.

Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.