UK Introduces Practice Direction 31B Addressing the Disclosure of Electronic Documents

Effective October 1, 2010, the UK has introduced Practice Direction 31B addressing in detail the disclosure of electronic documents.  According to the Ministry of Justice, this new Practice Direction “aims to focus the parties on the sources of electronic material and give guidance to those with less experience of dealing which such issues.”  A comprehensive discussion, the Practice Direction addresses a myriad of topics, including preservation, topics for discussion between the parties, reasonable searching, keyword and automated searching, the disclosure of metadata, and the format of production.  The Practice Direction also provides an “Electronic Documents Questionnaire” which may be exchanged by the parties “in order to provide information to each other in relation to the scope, extent and most suitable format for disclosure of Electronic Documents in the proceedings.”  The questionnaire, like Practice Direction 31B, is quite detailed and covers issues like the scope of a reasonable search, suggested search methodologies, preservation, and potential problems related to electronic disclosure.

Practice Direction 31B is available here.

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