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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.