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Searching through the plethora of seminars, demonstrations and networking available at the event, it was refreshing to see a plenary session entitled ‘Broadway Premiere: The View from the Bench’.
Created and moderated by Chris Dale of the e-Disclosure Information Project, this ‘play’ involved members of both the US and UK judiciary – Honour Judge Simon Brown QC, Honorable Elizabeth D. Laporte, Honorable Andrew J. Peck and Master Steven Whitaker. An impressive list but not known for their acting skills, I was interested to see how this session would progress.
Described as, and I quote from the LegalTech conference brochure, ‘In the UK as in the US, eDisclosure/eDiscovery is a serious matter. It can, however, have its funny side…’ it lived up to the description. The light-hearted look at recent cases, including the much-publicised Digicel (St Lucia) v Cable & Wireless and Earles v Barclays Bank Plc, presented these and other defining cases in a clear but humorous way. The ‘actors’ were able to draw on their experience and ad-lib to add further interest to the play.
The serious note taken from this session was that even though over 90% of business documentation is now in electronic form, there is still considerable ignorance about the rules of disclosure amongst UK and US organisations. This was summarised succinctly by Judge Brown in the case of Earles v Barclays Bank Plc:
“The abundance of this ESI in cyberspace means that potential litigants, in particular organisations such as Banks at the current time, need to anticipate having to give disclosure of specifically relevant electronic documentation and the means of doing so efficiently and effectively.”
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