South Africa publishes issue paper on electronic evidence in criminal and civil proceedings


The South Africa Law Reform Commission has approved the publication of its Issue Paper on “Electronic Evidence in Criminal and Civil Proceedings: Admissibility and Related Issues” for general information and comment. The paper has attempted to draw attention to issues for law reform with regard to matters relating to admissibility of electronic evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. This preliminary research paper has set out to identify shortcomings in the evidential provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act 25 of 2002. The closing date for comment is 30 June.

A recent survey of South African litigation practitioners revealed that less than 30% of documents produced during discovery or at trial are produced in electronic form, despite the fact that more than 90% of litigious documents are created electronically. In it’s 2009 year-end review of the world-wide electronic discovery software market, Gartner mentioned the growing need and demand of e-discovery software in South Africa. Many South African law commentators have discussed that current litigation practice falls short of best practice. All of these developments expalin the issuance of the issue paper.

The Issue Paper raises a number of issues and formulates a number of questions on specific areas for reform to stimulate debate. The Commission provided us the following summary...

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