The learned Judge and Counsel in a multi-party litigation observed that hearings would be substantial both in terms of the duration of hearings (at that time estimated up to 100 sitting days) and the volume of documentary evidence required to be presented to the Court (at that time estimated up to 3,000 documents). The litigators, Counsel and Judge had no previous eTrial experience. Evidence presentation and management technology options were investigated and Delium was chosen by the parties as the most suitable solution.
Over 1 million documents were discovered which were reduced to a Court Bundle of 5,571 documents constating of 93,908 pages.
The parties were very cost conscious and determined to reduce traditional eTrial costs (which they perceived to be expensive) without diminishing the functionality and support they required.
The Delium Hearing case was made available to the parties within 24 hours of them selecting Delium.
Delium does not require specialist hardware on the bar tables so each of the parties provided their own PC workstations in the hearing room. There were seventeen legal practitioners at the bar tables. PC workstations were also provided for the Judge and his team and a screen for the witness.
From the commencement of hearings, operational control of Delium was in the hands of participating Legal Practitioners.
Out of court, practitioners would access Delium to bundle and sequence the items of evidence intended to be presented in the course of submissions or to witnesses as the subject of questions.
In Court, the same practitioners would proceed to publish documents sequentially into evidence as Counsel progressed through submissions or questions.
Placing this functionality back in the hands of the legal practitioners removed the need, and associated cost, for a dedicated Court Operator. It allowed proceedings to flow more smoothly as the supporting legal practitioners worked at the pace set by Counsel. The legal practitioners could publish the next document before Counsel referred to it so Counsel could judge a witness’s reaction to the document in front of them or they could wait so Counsel could gauge the witness’s anticipation at what was to come as Counsel set the scene.
Delium staff remained in attendance on-site for the first week of the trial, to be on-hand if technical issues were encountered and to provide supplementary training and to answer questions as necessary. Thereafter, support was provided remotely including the maintenance of an open real time instant message/chat service with capacity to take remote control of equipment in the Court to resolve issues if necessary. At no time during the trial did Delium fail or through any other issue was the trial interrupted due to technology factors.
During the course of the trial, a total of 12,658 publications were effected without technical or operational intervention. Delium cost the parties approximately $250NZD each per day, totalling $115,000 after 158 sitting days.
The Judge commented he thought the use of Delium had accelerated the proceedings by at least 50%, probably significantly more.
A simple view of the publication of 12,658 items, attaching the common measure of 2 minutes per item saved if those items had been presented conventionally, saw Delium deliver an acceleration of approximately 86 sitting days.
Estimating legal fees for the seventeen appearances at $50,000 per hearing day, the 50% reduction in hearing days delivered by Delium saved the parties $3.9 million dollars – a cost benefit of 34:1.
These figures do not take into account savings associated with reduced Para-legal and other out of Court legal services, Court fees, photocopying and incidental expenses.