March 01, 2008
Electronic discovery threatens to swamp an already overloaded court system. But thanks to the Sedona Canada Working Group, help is finally on the way.
Corporate clients maintain several sophisticated computer systems, each of which contains terabytes (thousands of gigabytes) of data.
"Under the civil rules of procedure in Ontario, you're supposed to produce every single document that has a semblance of relevance to the case," says David Outerbridge, chair of Ontario's E-Discovery Implementation Committee. "If you take that to its logical extreme, you could spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars finding deleted documents, every document on a backup tape, and so forth." Welcome to the brave new world of e-discovery. "It creates a whole new dimension of costs and time and effort."
In Canada, e-discovery is now a permanent part of the litigation process. Lawyers and their clients are potentially facing excessive amounts of work ensuring that all relevant stones are turned over. Knowledge of e-discovery procedures does not seem to be widespread in Canada. David says: "In my practice, I've never received a preservation letter," referring to a request sent to opposition counsel that details the information a litigant seeks.
Ontario's E-Discovery Implementation Committee, for example, is preparing model e-discovery precedents based in large part on Sedona Canada’s work. "Our primary focus is on taking Sedona principles and turning them into something people can actually use," says David.
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