Some of the UK e-Disclosure cases recently have been lightly amusing tales of incompetence and stupidity. Earles v Barclays Bank is, I think, the only one which actually has the word “incompetence” in it, but it is far more important than some of the music hall turns we have seen in the courts in the last few months. If the headline point was that a successful party had its costs severely reduced for disclosure failures, it swept up along the way questions like the extent of the duty of preservation, litigation readiness and legal hold, neither of which has seen much developed law in the UK.
Its messages are for companies and not just for their lawyers, and go back into the way in which they keep documents, not just into the conduct of the litigation.
I am doing a session tomorrow at the Ark Group eDisclosure 2010 conference with the judge who delivered the judgment, HHJ Simon Brown QC and with Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy. It is called Earles v Barclays Bank: a client’s guide to avoiding adverse inferences, wasted time and costs and damage to reputation. I think it safe to say that I will have had enough of Earles for a bit by the end of this week. Those with large document collections and any potential for litigation will not have that luxury.
Do join us at 4.00 on Wednesday afternoon.