EY is investing £650,000 in a new forensic technology facility that will be based in Manchester and open in the autumn.
The new lab is the firm's first dedicated forensic technology facility outside of London and will initially specialise in collecting, managing and analysing data for legal disputes and regulatory investigations across the UK as well as supporting the firm's fraud investigation and dispute services team.
The firm will also hire an additional 50 forensic professionals over the next two years to complement the existing team.
"The investment will boost the size of the team to 150 people - the largest in the UK - a sign of our market-leading capability in forensic technology," said Paul Walker, head of forensic technology and discovery services (FTDS) for EMEIA at EY.
"It represents a significant investment that reaffirms our intention to continue expanding our FTDS practice - which is a high growth area for the firm - and EY's continued commitment to Manchester as a business destination."
The lab, which will be situated in EY's Manchester office, will be headed up by Chris Marks, FTDS practice leader in the North West.
According to the Law Society, the UK legal services market is worth £25.6bn and with 40% of all global disputes being settled under English Law, the facility will support the collection of electronic evidence that underpins many of these cases. Aside from traditional data collection, predominately from laptops and computers, EY said there is significant growth in demand for data collection from mobile phones, tablets and social media.
"A growing need for robust legal evidence across a broader range of data sources - fuelled by technological advancement - has led to increased appetite for specialist IT forensic capabilities," said Marks.
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