Technology Practice Direction Latest

June 30, 2004

As readers may have gathered from articles in the last two issues, the kraken of IT use in civil court proceedings in England and Wales has begun to slip from its slumbers. It seems increasingly likely that some form of guidance, at the very least encouraging the use of IT solutions in disclosure, will be in place before the end of the year.

An updated draft Practice Direction on the use of Technology in Civil Proceedings has been prepared by a LiST Group working party consisting of Jonathan Maas, Serena Cobley, Mark Dingle, Christine Gabitass and Vince Neicho, assisted by Clive Freedman (Barrister of 3 Verulam Builidngs). The latest version of the draft is to be found on the SCL Web site. The latest version follows on from the drafts initially produced by Sandra Potter, whose contribution the Group gratefully acknowledges. The updates follow further discussion by the drafters and comments from the public on the first draft. The main features of the changes are the addition of appendices 2 and 3; appendix 1 referred to in the draft is still being worked on and is not yet ready for consultation.

The current draft may be close to perfection but it will undoubtedly benefit from input from those who are expert litigators (whether or not they know much about IT) and from IT specialists (even those who know little about litigation). The effect on both may be considerable and we may see something introduced by the end of the year. The impact of the Practice Direction will not be limited to those who deal in “litigation support” but will fall much more widely.

Comments are sought by 1 July and should be sent to Jonathan Maas at Simmons & Simmons, CityPoint, One Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9SS, Tel +44 (0)20 7628 2020, Fax +44 (0)20 7628 2070, DX 12 London/Chancery Lane; e-mail: or other members of the LiST working group. Comments should be based on the latest version of the draft, which is updated from time to time to take account of comments and can be accessed here.