HMCS workshops on electronic filing

April 25, 2008

HM Courts Service is running workshops in Birmingham and London on how electronic filing and document management (EFDM) will work in the civil and family courts. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge has more than one interest in trees

April 24, 2008

A letter in yesterday’s Times throws a new light on the interest which His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC has in electronic disclosure. As regular readers know, Judge Brown is an enthusiastic proponent of cutting down litigation costs by tight management of disclosure. His letter, “Planes to refresh the city’s masses” was prompted by a recent Times article about cutting down trees – or rather, about not cutting them down because of the value attributable to them under the new Cavat scheme. Read the rest of this entry »


XBundle lifts bar to electronic court bundles

April 24, 2008

It has been observed unkindly that a high proportion of my research seems to be done in bars. I find them good places to pick up information, especially if everyone else drinks and I do not. Perhaps it is less to do with drink and more with not being in an office – today’s assignation with a software company is in a patisserie, for example. It was at a bar, a while back now, that I met Robert Onslow, who stuck in the mind as the only software developer I know who is at the other kind of bar.

Robert combines a busy practice as a barrister specialising in IP and computer–related cases with the development of a software application called XBundle. He and fellow-director Andrew Steven had come up with an idea for replicating electronically the paper bundles which Robert used in court. The concept was simple. The only target was to achieve an efficient electronic substitute for the paper bundles. Anything which went further than that was ruled out. Read the rest of this entry »


Insider gremlins being fixed

April 21, 2008

My surmise as to why January’s edition of Legal Technology Insider has come back to haunt us seems to have been correct (see Gremlins delay warning of EDD trolls).

Charles Christian writes at once to say that a bug in the system of their EX internet service provider keeps re-sending December and January’s editions.

The April edition will be out later this week.

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Gremlins delay warning of EDD trolls

April 21, 2008

Giving your predictions for the year at the end of April is a bit like going to the bookies as the Grand National field crosses the Melling Road for the second time (not that that would have done you much good this year). Looking more closely, I see that the edition of Legal Technology Insider which hit my In Box this morning is that from January, and I can see from the header that it was indeed sent on 23 January.

That would pose an interesting conundrum for a lawyer examining the metadata in his opponent’s electronic disclosure, especially as I got the January message in January as well. I suspect that a Gremlin has intervened as an ISP somewhere along the line restored an old backup.

Nevertheless, as I read it with a growing sense of déju vu, I came across an article I missed on my first reading. It was by Simon Price of Recommind and was headed Dinosaurs and trolls in 2008. I am seeing Simon Price on Thursday, so I thought I ought to read it. Read the rest of this entry »


Aural Guidance on e-Disclosure

April 21, 2008

Something called the e-Disclosure Information Project is necessarily interested in exploring beyond the traditional speaking and writing ways of getting that information across, and this year has brought a number of recorded opportunities.

The Project is a loose confederation of a consultant, a judge and a litigation lawyer – me, HHJ Simon Brown QC and Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons – plus those who sponsor my time (effectively all of my time now) in keeping the information flowing. One of the most active of the sponsors is Guidance Software, whose Patrick Burke was described to me last week (by someone who did not know I knew him) as being willing to go anywhere to find out about, and speak about, e-disclosure in any jurisdiction.

The common thread here is that each of Judge Brown, Mark Surguy and I have recently taken part in recorded sessions – podcasts and webinars – in company with Guidance Software. You may like to hear them. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2008: e-Disclosure – the next risky business

April 17, 2008

This was the title of the second e-disclosure session at ILTA INSIGHT 2008 in London – the first was on Judicial training in e-Disclosure. George Rudoy of Shearman & Sterling, and UK e-disclosure consultant Andrew Haslam talked about risk management, with Sally Gonzalez of Michael Farrell Group as Moderator.

The disclosure of electronic evidence is becoming a major expense for corporates, and a major revenue stream for lawyers and providers of technical and related services. Forrester Research estimates that the business will be worth $4.8 billion by 2011, whatever efforts are made by the courts to contain this expense.

There is corresponding competition to capture this revenue as between the lawyers and the outsourced providers, with corresponding interest on the part of some corporates to keep as much of the work in house as they can. Read the rest of this entry »


Standard Mercantile Court Directions

April 17, 2008

The old cliches are the best of course, and I feel just now that we have reached the summit after pushing snow uphill for years (15 years in my case). The snowball is poised to roll downhill, gathering momentum and bulk as it goes.

His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC, a Designated Mercantile Judge at the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, has today released a standard form of directions for use in all Mercantile Courts. It will be sent out electronically to all parties once the defence has been filed. As well as compelling a focus on issues, it includes a direction which implicitly reminds parties of their obligations under Paragraph 2A.2 of the Practice Direction to Part 31- the obligation to discuss any issues arising from searches for electronic documents. That, of course, should already have been done before the first CMC. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2008: judicial training in e-disclosure

April 17, 2008

I have already given an overview of the excellent ILTA INSIGHT 2008 conference in London yesterday (ILTA 2008 – not just another e-disclosure conference). Two sessions dealt with electronic disclosure.

The first was given by Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons, His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC and me, and covered the advances which we are making in promoting awareness of e-disclosure to courts and practitioners. The second, which will be reported separately, concerned the management of risk in an e-disclosure context. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA – not just another e-disclosure conference

April 16, 2008

When the Director of Global Practice Technology & Information Services at Shearman & Sterling describes what we are doing in the Birmingham Mercantile Court as “leap-frogging the US in e-disclosure”, you begin to think you might be getting somewhere.

George Rudoy, named as the 2007 “Champion of Technology” by Law Technology News, was kind enough to make the observation after hearing Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons, His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC and me speak at ILTA Insight 2008 yesterday. It matters because it is very much part of our aim to bring the standards of large international firms to smaller UK players, and to identify the best practices of any jurisdiction and fashion them to serve the interests of civil justice across the UK. The ambition does not end with importing ideas from elsewhere; we hope to make a big enough mark on the way litigation is run that others will want to follow us. Judge Brown has made a start on that with his spirited debate on Broadway in February (see UK judge flies e-Disclosure flag in New York) . Read the rest of this entry »


What do people actually do in e-disclosure?

April 12, 2008

What began as an analysis of women in e-disclosure turns into the idea of writing about the daily work of people of all kinds whose work involves e-disclosure. The aim is to make the business of e-disclosure more approachable both to new recruits and to clients.

This is not, as you might think from its title, an article about human-computer interaction, though I have recently met Dr Simon Attfield of UCL, whose discipline this is, and who is working with Freshfields and LexisNexis on the subject. More on his work in due course.

It is more prompted by some of the reactions I have picked up to my pieces on Women in e-Discovery, and by conversations about customer perceptions of litigation support. The linking element is my strong view that part of the reason for the slow take-up of electronic disclosure in the UK is that it is seen as the province of hardcore techies, and male ones at that. In fact it is primarily a business–driven function, and women already have a strong presence on all sides of the business. Read the rest of this entry »


Law Society regional e-Disclosure training

April 11, 2008

The Law Society has just published the programme and venue listings for its electronic disclosure training series under the title E-disclosure – the rules, the practice and the benefits. This begins in London on 13 May and goes to Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle and ends in Leeds on 9 July.

This is of significance to me for three reasons – one, it shows the Law Society’s commitment to a subject which can no longer be ignored by solicitors who practice litigation in any court in the UK; two, it is the first serious attempt to carry the message out to those who cannot easily attend the e-disclosure conferences in London; and three, I am the one giving the talks. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA INSIGHT 2008

April 10, 2008

ILTA INSIGHT 2008 takes place on 15 April at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. I will be speaking there with Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons and HHJ Simon Brown QC in a session to report on the progress which has been made on the management of electronic disclosure since the three of us met last year.

We have run a training session for 14 judges in Birmingham, addressed two packed meetings of local practitioners there organised by the Law Society and made, or been booked to make, a number of speeches, podcasts, and webinars on this subject. In addition, I write about every possible aspect of the subject and take every opportunity to connect with anyone interested in the subject. Read the rest of this entry »


E-discovery progress in Australia

April 9, 2008

There is a more than theoretical interest in what is happening in disclosure in other jurisdictions. We are all facing the same challenges, and it is helpful to know what the problems, and the perceived solutions, are in far-away places – Scotland, for example, the US or Australia.

I mention Scotland because it came up last week when I met Bob Wiss of LexisNexis who was talking about CaseMap. There seems to be a wave of interest amongst Scottish lawyers in using CaseMap to relate the facts, documents and people to the issues in a case. I hope to go up to Edinburgh soon to find out what is happening there, not just with CaseMap but generally on the e-Disclosure front.

The US experience is by no means all about awful warnings as to what to avoid, and there is regular two-way exchange of information between the US and UK. Although the limelight gets hogged by big cases fought between giant firms over vast document populations, the majority of cases in the US are routine affairs handled by small firms, whose experiences – and costs constraints – are not at all remote from those of modest-sized firms in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »


Attracting readers for electronic disclosure

April 9, 2008

I do not have any sophisticated means of tracking the visitors to this blog, but WordPress shows me which pages have been read how many times and allows me to distinguish between real views and those made by crawlers and the like. The tracker which gives it its statistics is Google Analytics which is known to err (and sometimes seriously so) on the side of understating visitors. I am not here so much interested in absolute numbers as in relative ones – what posts encourage people in?

According to the under-counting Google Analytics, visitors have been running at an average of about 1350 per month or 45 per day. This is no doubt trivial compared with the Orange Rag, but Charles Christian writes on a wide range of subjects whereas I cover a very narrow niche (I also have a web site whose numbers I am not including here). I can assume that everyone who comes here intends to come here – you don’t wander into a site about e-Disclosure by accident. I can also assume that no-one reads the same article twice, and I can see that a reasonable number of hits derive from searches rather than from repeat visits by regular visitors. Read the rest of this entry »


Relevant is irrelevant to standard Disclosure

April 9, 2008

I spend a sadly disproportionate amount of my life touring the Web with the aid of Google, looking for things which are relevant to disclosure of documents, and in particular electronic disclosure.

Look, I even talk like Part 31 of the CPR – I can’t get through an opening sentence without using words like “disproportionate” and “relevant”. But, of course, “relevant” is neither here nor there in deciding whether a document is to be disclosed – is it?

The subject comes up because I have just stumbled on the e-Disclosure web page of a large and very well-known firm. Two things caught my eye. One was the assertion that the documents which must be disclosed are all those which are “relevant” – they even put “relevant” in quotation marks as if to imply that they had taken it from the rules themselves. The other is that the Civil Procedure Rules have nothing expressly dealing with electronic documents. One of these assertions is misleadingly wrong. The other was true when the article was written, but is no longer true. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding out more about Women in Discovery

April 8, 2008

I did a short post last night about a Women in eDiscovery London Group which I heard about in a pub (you would be surprised how much of what goes in my blog is picked up in pubs). My request for information has been speedily picked up by Laura Kelly of Trilantic, who wrote to me with information about the Group and about a forthcoming talk on 24 April by Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy.

Laura writes:

Thank you for picking up about the Women in eDiscovery London Group. I am the Director of this Group and have been talking to the Women of the UK Litigation eDisclosure marketplace on this topic since February of this year. Read the rest of this entry »


Women in e-Discovery

April 8, 2008

Rumour reaches me of the foundation of a UK group called Women in e-Discovery run, I assume, on lines similar to the successful US group of the same name.

I would love to tell you more, but no-one has told me anything about it, so I can’t. My experience of women in e-discovery is that they are just like the men, only tougher and more focused.

If you find out anything about this, perhaps you would let me know.

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Epiq Systems buys Pinpoint Global

April 8, 2008

Epiq Systems, who have recently released DocuMatrix 12, the international version of their document review software, have announced the further expansion of their UK business with the acquisition of Pinpoint Global Ltd. Pinpoint are best known for their proprietary processing / e-disclosure solutions. It is only a few weeks since Epiq acquired ECM, bringing its scanning, coding and general document-handling skills into the Epiq fold. Read the rest of this entry »


LDM shows CaseMap integration

April 7, 2008

Regular readers will know that I am an enthusiast for CaseMap as a low-cost tool both for its primary purpose – the linking of litigation facts to issues – and as a simple way to handle disclosure. If today’s postings seem CaseMap heavy, that is because there were two CaseMap events last week.

The first was a visit to show it to HHJ Simon Brown QC at the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, which I describe in a separate post (Judge how CaseMap gets to the issues). The second was a meeting of the CaseMap user group in London on Friday. The speakers were Bob Wiss, co-founder of CaseSoft, Christine Tomas of LDM and Dr Tony Cox, who gives expert evidence on health and safety matters, mainly to do with mechanical engineering. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge how CaseMap gets to the issues

April 7, 2008

I went to Birmingham last week with LexisNexis to show a judge what CaseMap can do. Why is it important for judges to see solutions like this, and what is CaseMap’s role in handling the issues in litigation?

Part of the aim of the E-Disclosure Information Project, of which this blog is a part, is to introduce to each other as many as possible of the people, things and concepts which have some role in the disclosure aspects of case management.

Some of these matchings are more obvious than others. I work with lawyers to look at how the CPR can work for them. I introduce people who have a problem to solve to providers who might have the answer. I pick up ideas from one discussion, one web site or one jurisdiction, and drop them into another. This much is a fairly obvious use of resources, information, contacts and knowledge, and seems to be appreciated.

Less obvious is the introduction of technology solutions to judges. Judges can neither buy nor recommend solutions, so it might seem on the face of it a waste of time on everyone’s part for suppliers and judges to spend time together. I disagree. Read the rest of this entry »


LiST publishes draft Disclosure Statement

April 4, 2008

The LiST Group has published a draft revised Disclosure Statement on its Publications page. The draft was submitted to the DCA (as was) in 2006 with a view to kick-starting a discussion about this under-regarded element in the disclosure process. As with their other contributions, LiST got a polite acknowledgement and no more. As electronic disclosure comes back onto the agenda, it is a good time to raise the subject again. Read the rest of this entry »


For the avoidance of doubt…

April 2, 2008

Those of you excited by my report yesterday of a District Judge striking out both statements of case for failure to comply with a practice direction did, I hope, get to the bottom, where the words “fool” and “1 April” occurred close to each other.

I hope also that I am not understood to be advocating such tough action, not at a first CMC anyway. Nevertheless, the fictional Judge Solomon Dredd was not wrong to draw attention to the requirements of Paragraph 2A.2 of the Practice Direction to Part 31, nor to point out that failure to comply with a rule, order or practice direction entitles the court to strike out a statement of case under Part 3.4(2)(c) CPR. Read the rest of this entry »


HMCS forum on IT Development

April 2, 2008

A new forum has been set up to encourage an exchange of plans and ideas between HM Courts Service and the legal profession on business change and matters affecting the courts.

The forum will allow HMCS to talk about its plans and to hear about what is happening in the legal profession which may affect or influence those plans. The primary subject is business change rather than just IT, although IT will obviously be a major topic.

The group will be chaired by Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, the Judge in charge of Modernisation and IT. He has been appointed to the Court of Appeal with effect from 21 April, but will retain responsibility for Modernisation. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge strikes out

April 1, 2008

It is a source of curiosity to US and Australian litigation lawyers that we in the UK have so little case law on pre-trial procedures. District Judge Solomon Dredd made an order at a Case Management Conference today which should lead to an interesting appeal.

He struck out the statements of case of both parties at a first CMC for failure to discuss electronic sources of documents. He drew attention to the obligation in this regard in Paragraph 2.A2 of the Practice Direction to Part 31 CPR, and to the power given by Part 3.4(2)(c) CPR to strike out where there has been “a failure to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order”. Read the rest of this entry »


How do I find out about electronic disclosure?

April 1, 2008

The e-Disclosure Information Project began in response to a perceived need for different players in the e-disclosure field to know more about what the others were doing. In the last few months, I have heard or heard of things like:

We know we ought to be doing something about e-disclosure but we don’t know where to start (after a lecture). Read the rest of this entry »


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