Revised eDisclosure Protocol and Guidelines

January 12, 2015

Readers may recall that in March 2013, in response to the introduction of new Civil Procedure Rules and the Jackson cost management reforms, TeCSA, TECBAR and the SCL jointly resolved to produce much-needed support for their members in handling eDisclosure and the many attendant issues that it raises. One of the main fruits of this resolve was the production of an eDisclosure Protocol specifically designed for use in cases conducted in the Technology and Construction Court but also capable of being used in any piece of civil litigation. In October 2013, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart confirmed that the Protocol would have the support of the TCC judges and the eDisclosure Protocol and accompanying Guidelines (together with a useful “Guide to eDisclosure”) was launched and adopted for use in the TCC from 1 January 2014.

Whilst use of the eDisclosure Protocol is not mandatory, if parties do not use it and do not have an alternative suitable way of dealing with electronic disclosure, the Court is likely to order the parties to use the Protocol.

In the latter half of 2014, having collated feedback on use of the Protocol from various industry members, a Working Group set out to update both the Protocol and the accompanying Guidelines. Accordingly, version 0.2 of the documents which are gathered in an eDisclosure Protocol Pack that comprises the following documents:

·        an Introduction;

·        the eDisclosure Protocol (Version 0.2 – 9 January 2015);

·        the Guidelines to the eDisclosure Protocol (Version 0.2 – 9 January 2015), including:

(i)                six appendices providing examples of proposed wording that parties may wish to agree in the Protocol;

(ii)              a graphic timeline, called the Legal/EDRM Timeline, which sets the scene by consolidating in graphic form the regulatory requirements related to eDisclosure and identifying the input required from practitioners to achieve compliance (Annex A to the Guidelines);

(iii)             a flowchart outlining the suggested pathway to the first CMC (Annex B to the Guidelines);

(iv)             a checklist to assist in kick-starting the electronic disclosure process (Annex C to the Guidelines); and

·        the Guide to eDisclosure which provides an overview for practitioners of the disclosure industry, including the types of hardware, software, providers available in the marketplace and a glossary of technical terms.

All these documents can be downloaded from the panel opposite.

TeCSA, TECBAR and the SCL would particularly like to thank Andrew Haslam and Andrew Kennell for their major contribution towards the success of this initiative. Without their technical and commercial understanding of the eDisclosure process and the “jungle” of providers and advisers and different software and hardware systems and solutions that make up the marketplace with which practitioners must deal, it is hard to see how the objectives of this initiative could possibly have been achieved as, we hope and believe, they have been.