The disclosure of documents has always been at the heart of litigation in common law countries. It is not just a procedural requirement with its own strict rules but the source of the evidence and facts on which cases turn. As “documents” have changed from paper to a multiplicity of sources and formats, and as volumes have grown, disclosure has become electronic disclosure or eDisclosure and is often the biggest cause of expense in cases of all sizes.
It requires a set of skills which go beyond those of traditional litigators. All the old skills and knowledge – compliance with rules, strategy and tactics – remain as important as ever, but it is necessary also to understand how technology can be used to comply with the rules and to do so proportionately.
It is surprisingly, therefore, that there is almost no teaching about disclosure in schools of law in the UK or anywhere else save for a small number of initiatives, some very good, at US law schools.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) aims to change this with a new academic course in eDisclosure starting this autumn for LLM students at the School of Law. A team of people has been pulled together by Maggi Healey, a former litigator who now specialises in eDisclosure at The Review People, from a range of disciplines: lawyers, eDisclosure consultants and providers make up an ad hoc faculty which aims to cover the many topics which together comprise eDiscovery.
The commitment to practicality is emphasised by the fact that kCura is providing hands-on training with Relativity as part of its strong commitment to education through its Relativity Academic Partners programme.
Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law at QMUL’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) said: “e-disclosure is now firmly at the heart of modern legal practice. It is a world wide application of electronically stored information that will present new challenges for lawyers. For students to receive training by the leading experts in this field and get hands on training with Relativity, is a huge opportunity.”
Those involved in this interesting exercise include:
Simon Manton of Epiq
Marie-Claire O’Hara of Bevan Brittan
Andrew Haslam of Squire Patton Boggs
Sanjay Bhandari of EY
Alex Dunstan-Lee of Navigant
Clive Freedman of 3 Verulam Building Chambers
Andrew Herring of Pinsent Masons
Matthew Davis of Consilio
Training in Relativity will be provided by Jonathan Chan of Anexsys.
My own role is to deliver an overview covering the rules and the important cases, and generally to set the scene for the expertise of those who follow.