Peter Hibbert’s new book, the Electronic Evidence and eDisclosure Handbook, published by Sweet Maxwell, was waiting for me when I came back from one of my foreign trips. It has gazed reproachfully at me from my bookshelf ever since, as the twin tides of data protection and predictive coding have washed around me thanks to the pending General Data Protection Regulation and the UK Pyrrho judgment. There are days when it feels an achievement to read all the tweets relevant to eDiscovery, let alone a book.
I can’t claim to have read it now – the nature of a legal textbook, if properly done, is that its table of contents and its index allow you to go straight to the sections you need. Peter Hibbert and Sweet & Maxwell have done very well in this regard, with a well structured book covering pretty well everything you need to know.
The relevant rules and practice directions are set out in full, along with useful documents like the TeSCA/SCL/TECBAR eDisclosure Protocol and relevant court forms.
My mantra, as regular readers will know, is RTFR, where the first R is “read” and the second R is “rules”, with the F not standing, in this case, for “Federal”. You will find them all here, along with helpful extracts from cases including, where relevant, ones from the US and other jurisdictions.
There are sections on project management, on sanctions, on professional conduct and privilege. Cross-border litigation is covered along with international arbitration. There are technical sections on types of data and how to find them, with chapters on social media and cloud computing among other things.
Gordon Exall, the barrister who writes the highly regarded Civil Litigation Brief, reviewed the book in the shortest possible form. He said:
The predictive coding judgment in Pyrrho came too late to be included in the book. I anticipate that it (and a further predictive coding judgment whose details are yet to emerge) will have a deep effect on the conduct of electronic disclosure in England and Wales – not necessarily a “floodgates” scenario, as some have predicted, but more effective management by judges of this most expensive component of litigation. A second edition of this book must soon be needed.
In talking about predictive coding, I always urge lawyers to go and see a few demonstrations. Even if they have no intention of using it themselves, a demo will help them when a client, an opponent or a judge raises the subject. The same is true of many of the topics covered in Peter Hibbert’s book. Keep it to hand, so that when the subject comes up you can scrabble through its useful table of contents to inform your contribution to the discussion.
Even better, read the whole (very readable) book. If you are a novice, it will give you enough information, in easily-assimilated form, for you to know at least where you might need further research or third-party help. If you are already knowledgeable, The Electronic Evidence and eDisclosure Handbook covers everything together in a neat package.