Evidence in the electronic age: the rise of the Sedona Canada Principles

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The world is moving from print toward electronically stored information (ESI), and the legal profession is no exception. Since ESI is discoverable, lawyers must understand the effects ESI can have on their discovery process. Drafted in 2008 and updated in 2016, the Sedona Canada Principles sought to provide reasoned guidance on how to handle the vast amounts of discoverable ESI during litigation and investigations, generally known as eDiscovery. Just as “snail mail” was eventually usurped by electronic methods, so too is traditional paper-based discovery. Since 2010, Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure included by reference the Sedona Canada Principles.1 As two recent cases show, these principles are having an increasingly important effect on the costs of eDiscovery and access to information.

As a system developed in a print-based era is forced to adapt, lawyers can either stay ahead of the curve or pay the costs. As the gap between technical and legal competency will continue to grow, lawyers need to either develop a second skill set or recognize that information technology experts are indispensable to their work.

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