The Sedona Conference® Publishes The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, Addressing Electronic Discovery

SEDONA, AZ – The Sedona Conference®, the nation’s premier nonpartisan law and policy think tank, has announced publication of The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, Best Practices Recommendations and Principles for Addressing Electronic Document Production.  Building on the success of first edition of The Sedona Principles, which appeared in January 2004, the second edition has been eagerly anticipated by lawyers and judges across the country looking for guidance in the fast-paced world of electronic discovery.

The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, may be downloaded here free of charge.

Jonathan Redgrave, chairperson of the Steering Committee of The Sedona Conference® Working Group 1, which drafted both editions of The Sedona Principles, said “the second edition provides helpful and timely guidance for the issues and circumstances that the amended civil rules, by their nature, cannot address.”  He added, “we are very grateful for the contributions and thoughts of the literally hundreds of members of the working group that make this a consensus document reflecting views from a wide array of interests and specialties.”

Richard G. Braman, Executive Director of The Sedona Conference®, said that publication of the second edition “represents a new milestone in our efforts.  It reflects the fact that our Working Groups produce ‘living documents’ that are open to substantive revision as developments in our society and laws may require.  This evolution is in the grand tradition of the common law and also the mission of The Sedona Conference® to move the law forward in a reasoned and just way.”

Ken Withers, Director of Judicial Education and Content for The Sedona Conference® and Executive Editor of The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, pointed out the essential continuity between the first and second editions.  “There are still 14 principles and they are fundamentally unchanged,” he said.  “The goal was to make sure this widely recognized and often-cited authority would have continued relevance and vitality, but to avoid shifting the foundations of reasonableness and cooperation between the parties.”   He explained that in the second edition, the language of the principles themselves was updated only to the extent necessary to accommodate the language of the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  However, the comments under each of the 14 principles were significantly updated “to reflect the new rules, a wave of recent court decisions, advances in electronic discovery technology, and a deeper appreciation among judges and lawyers for the unique qualities of electronically stored information.” 

Withers pointed out that two principles, Principle 12 on “metadata” and Principle 14 on sanctions for the loss of electronic data subject to discovery, received heightened attention from the Working Group.

“The 2006 amendments to Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the deliberations of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules that are reflected in the Committee Notes accompanying the amended rule, forced us to reexamine the consensus we reached in 2003,” he said.  “The result is an updated Principle 12 that better reflects the developing law and technology, the place of metadata in understanding the substantive content and context of electronically stored information, and the potential value of metadata in reducing the cost of organizing and managing large collections of electronically stored information.” 

Principle 14 on sanctions received special attention from the Working Group as well, according to Withers.  “Rule 37(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure didn’t exist when we published the first edition,” he said.  “It was gratifying to see a new federal rule adopted that reflected the underlying philosophy of Principle 14, but that meant we needed to update Principle 14 to accommodate that new rule and the new case law based it.”

The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, is available free of charge for individuals to download from The Sedona Conference® web site,  Bar association, legal education groups, and legal publishers who wish to republish The Sedona Principles may request a license to do so upon payment of a reasonable royalty per copy to The Sedona Conference®, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.  The proceeds go towards the organization’s advanced study of law and policy in the areas of antitrust law, complex litigation, and intellectual property rights, and help support an expanding curriculum of education programs offered free of charge to state and federal judges nationwide.

An “annotated” version of The Sedona Principles, Second Edition, in paperback form, is currently planned for release in the fall of 2007 by BNA.  It will contain the identical text as the online version, but will also have citations to nearly 1,000 federal and state court opinions, court rules, law review articles, and other authorities organized under the 14 principles and 59 comments.

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