I led an e-disclosure training session in Birmingham last week for a room-full of District Judges and Specialist Judges from Chancery and Mercantile Courts in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds.
We covered the Practice Direction to Part 31 CPR, the CPR provisions specifically relating to disclosure, and the discretionary and management powers which might be used, or better used, to reduce the time and costs of disclosure where there were electronic sources of information.
The result of the discussions between parties which the Practice Direction requires may well be that there are no electronic sources worth considering – but that cannot be determined if the discussion does not take place.
We then looked at the sources of electronic documents and the software and services which are available to help firms, whether they want to keep the work in house or send it out to others.
The primary conclusion was that the biggest single contribution to controlling time and expense would be a technology questionnaire sent out by the court before the first Case Management Conference. No formal or statutory authority is needed to use such a questionnaire and a draft exists – LiST (the Litigation Support Technology Group) annexed one to their draft Practice Direction for the use of IT in Civil Proceedings in July 2005.
If any points arise which you would like to discuss, or if you would like a similar session to be given at your firm or company, please contact me.