Full Disclosure

September 2, 2010

The publication of Practice Direction 31B on Disclosure of Electronic Documents is a cause for celebration. While I feel that the celebration should have taken place six months earlier, I don’t want to be curmudgeonly (but then I don’t want to be a stone overweight – it just happens to be so). No doubt the period that the draft spent in sub-committee has improved it markedly. I will leave those more conversant with the subject matter to highlight those improvements – it looks pretty much the same to churlish old me. So ‘Hurrah’.

The timing of its publication undoubtedly had its bright side. We have recently published Mike Taylor’s article ‘{Spoilt for Choice: http://www.scl.org/site.aspx?i=ed17122}’, a litigator’s guide to the purchase of e-disclosure services, and Clive Freedman’s piece on the case of {i}Rybak v Langbar International Ltd{/i} {Deleting Deleted Data: http://www.scl.org/site.aspx?i=ed17126}, and the magazine that is about to drop through your letter-box includes Daniel Kavan’s article ‘{E-disclosure: Preparing for the ESI Questionnaire: http://www.scl.org/site.aspx?i=ed16779}’. But I am conscious that the new Practice Direction is an important milestone and would be only too happy to hear from readers about the areas of e-disclosure that we have failed to address so that our coverage is fuller and even more useful. You can e-mail me with ideas or just complete the comments box below. I think Practice Direction 31B is pretty straightforward but perhaps a guide to some of the terminology might be helpful.

If we did do such a guide, I suppose we could just offer definitions of all the terms that PD31B has seen fit to capitalise. For a pedant like me, the unnecessary capitalisation is a pain. Quite why we have to have ‘Electronic Documents’, as if the phrase is some sort of brand name, defeats me. And it is especially strange to have ‘Metadata’ when that actually is the brand name for my recently launched dating service for geeks.