Judge calls for electronic document storage system in court

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A Canadian judge has criticised the old paper-based system as inefficient.

Electronic document storage has become a pertinent issue for businesses in many different fields, from retail to customer service, law to medicine.

And now it appears that the judiciary is looking to the benefits of such data storage in order to speed up court cases and save money for members of the public.

One judge in Canada made headlines around the world when he launched into a rant about the Ontario Superior Court’s document storage system after an aide took over an hour to track down information that had been filed with the court.

"I suppose that on a sunny, unusually warm, mid-March day one should be mellow and accept, without complaint, the systemic failures and delay of this court’s document management system," commented Mr Justice David Brown.

"The problem is that from the perspective of the members of the public who use this court, delays caused by our antiquated, wholly inadequate document management system impose unnecessary, but all too real, costs on them."

The judge pointed out that he had been able to spend an hour doing other work but the consequences of the delay to the litigant resulted in "the expenditure of additional counsel time [and] higher legal fees".

To prevent this situation reoccurring, Mr Justice Brown said the court should "consign our paper-based document management system to the scrap heap of history and equip this court with a modern electronic document system".

Meanwhile, the Law Society in the UK has published guidance for businesses that need to convert their documents digitally and destroy the original.

It advises holding on to written evidence that the destruction has occurred and, if scanning documents in-house, always scanning to British Standard BS 10008:2008 in cases where these documents may need to be presented in court or tribunal evidence, Mondaq reported.

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