Feeds

Email evidence jacks up litigation costs

Head-scratching all round

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Confusion over the handling of emails and other electronic documents for use as critical evidence in big litigation cases is costing the legal profession millions of pounds, a new survey has found.

Ambiguity in deciding what forms of electronic communication should be used in so-called "e-disclosure" cases has led to a hike in costs by more than £1m per case, according to more than a quarter (26 per cent) of senior UK litigators.

KPMG Forensic, which carried out the research, said nearly half of the 100 litigators it surveyed had little faith in judges' and masters' abilities to understand the new rules governing e-disclosure in the courts.

Despite the introduction of guidelines on e-disclosure, dubbed Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), in 2005, nearly half (43 per cent) of lawyers believe the rules had had a negative impact on big commercial litigation cases. Fifty-six per cent of lawyers felt the new rules had in fact jacked up costs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over two thirds reckoned an independent body of industry practitioners should be established to provide advice on training and dealing with the disclosure of electronic documents.

KPMG Forensic's technology head Paul Tombleson said the survey highlighted lawyers' concerns over e-disclosure rules which did not go far enough in keeping "pace with the the reality of the modern business world".

"E-disclosure can be immensely complex, costly, and challenging, and litigators have called for renewed energy in agreeing clearer case management guidelines. Many of them also clearly believe that some training for judges could be beneficial."

Meanwhile, the US legal system has also been battling with its own e-disclosure issues with judges considering overhauling how that evidence is handled in the courts.

The Wall Street Journal reports today on a number of high-profile litigation cases where electronic documents and emails have fallen through the net.

The legal team at chip maker Qualcomm had to issue an apology to Broadcom after thousands of emails that could have been used as evidence were uncovered following a patent trial between the two rivals earlier this year.

The WSJ also points to Morgan Stanley's failure to cough up email evidence in a number of cases that in one instance led to a jury slapping a $1.57bn bill on the consultancy firm.

Morgan Stanley later had that decision overturned, however, after it blamed its inability to produce email evidence on a genuine cock-up with its back-up tapes. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.