Any lawyers or other professionals who have been involved in civil proceedings in common law jurisdictions should be familiar with the discovery process. To put in simply in Chinese, discovery means disclosure. In the whole civil proceedings, it is the procedure for one party to disclose to the other party (or parties) and the court the evidence he possesses which is relevant to an issue in the proceedings. The purpose of discovery is to enable a party to know the evidence possessed by the other party before the hearing so as to prepare for the hearing on the other hand, and on the other, to facilitate settlement of the dispute, since if a party knows that the other party’s has possessed solid evidence to support his claims, it will be likely for him to consider settlement instead of continuing to litigate.
In large commercial litigations, the documentary evidence may be voluminous. This has brought a lot of inconvenience and pressure on the courts and parties. But in the last decade, internet and online services have become popular and prevalent. Advanced jurisdictions such as the US, Canada, the UK, Singapore, Australia, etc. have allowed and encouraged electronic discovery in civil litigations. Therefore, some technology companies have identified the potential of this market and have developed software that assists litigants in processing, identifying, organizing, and submitting discovery documents. Recently, an US-based software company DISCO has successfully attracted investment of US$83 million from Canadian venture capital firms to develop a cloud-based eDiscovery platform. Indeed, DISCO has raised more than one billion US$ in Series A and B fundraising. Investors included Sequoia Capital, a well-known US technology venture capital firm which has invested in renowned technology companies like Apple, Google, WhatsApp, Instagram and so on. Sequoia Capital’s investment may prove the potential of DISCO’s cloud-based eDiscovery platform.