Although I suggested (in my article here) that the authors might be “miffed” by the coincidence that the book should reach the shelves at the same time as new rules were announced, I went on to observe that there is much else in the book which will survive the replacement of one set of rules with another.
At the launch party, the authors were at pains to point out two things – firstly that there is a long way to go before the any new rule takes effect, and secondly that the bulk of the book is about the practice of managing disclosure, well beyond the the rules of litigation.
During the time of the Mitchell fiasco, the courts’ focus was very much on non-compliance with specific rules. The more recent attention (see RBS Rights Issue Litigation and Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton as examples) has been on botched or inadequate management of disclosure. The rules, the procedures and the criteria may change, but the core obligations of search and proportionate decision-making will not be very different. We can expect a yet closer focus on the practice as judges are forced to the realisation that this matters. This is the area where Michael Wheater and Charles Raffin’s book will be invaluable.
The Hardwicke party was well attended and enabled me to catch up with many people involved in eDisclosure. Guests included Jonathan Maas who gave technical help in the preparation of the book, Ed Spencer of Taylor Wessing who was one of those responsible for Pyrrho (and for much of the subsequent articulation of the principles which that judgment promoted), and Nick Rundle of Eversheds Sutherland who was largely responsible for that firm’s careful appraisal of its eDisclosure strategy which I wrote about here.
I don’t pick these names entirely at random. Between them, these three people fly the flag for the use of technology, for understanding of the disclosure rules, and for developing law firm ability to manage electronic disclosure efficiently and proportionately. Technology, rules and management all matter in this context.
My review copy of Electronic Disclosure Law and Practice awaits my attention. A skim of the index suffices to show that it should be on the shelf (or, rather, on the desk) of anyone involved in the practice of electronic disclosure, and not just for litigation.