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Managing E-Discovery in New Zealand - Keynote Address

Managing E-Discovery in New Zealand - Keynote Address

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Published by djhdcj
A discussion about the nature of a "document" in the digital paradigm and the application of the new High Court Rules to e-discovery
A discussion about the nature of a "document" in the digital paradigm and the application of the new High Court Rules to e-discovery

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Published by: djhdcj on Feb 12, 2013
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An Overview

• Two aspects 1. The concept of documents in the digital paradigm 2. An overview of the new High Court Rules

Documents in the Digital Paradigm
New Concepts

• The digital environment presents a new information paradigm

• Challenges our assumptions about and expectations of information

• Especially so in the environment of the discovery of documents.....

......or should that be INFORMATION?

• Evidence in digital format ought to be considered as paradigmatically different from a traditional document.

• The physical and digital “document” are NOT alike

• We focus on the content layer

• With digital information content is the end point of a process

• All digital information is part of a process

• Data in electronic for depends upon hardware and software

• Data on a hard drive requires an interpreter to render it into readable format

• The interpreter is the combination of hardware and software

• The reader cannot render electronic data into readable form without the proper hardware

• Danger in thinking of an e-document as a coherent object

• Identification as a “whole” in a directory is misleading

• E-document is a process

• Consists of unintelligible bits of data scattered across a medium.....

• Which are later assembled, processed and rendered legible for human use

• They weren’t called word processors for nothing

• “Document” as a single entity does not exist

• It cannot exist independently from the process that recreates it when it appears on a screen

• Thus, electronic documents are paradigmatically different from paper based ones

• What do we want to discover?

• The content........aka information

• Information is created and contained within a container
– A piece of paper or an e-file

• This container preserves the illusion of a “document” in the digital paradigm

• Hence ESI = electronically stored information

• Yet e-information is so paradigmatically different from that in hard copy that the word “document” is redundant and anachronistic.

• It reflects our fascination with content whereas........

It is the medium that is the message

• • • • New Discovery Rules High Court Amendment Rules (No 2) 2011 Addresses all forms of Discovery Our focus is on Electronic Discovery (EDiscovery)

Major Concepts
• Co-operation between counsel in the discovery process • Proportionality of discovery to the issues and the costs involved

Key Changes to Discovery
8 major observations

1. Parties must co-operate to ensure that discovery is proportionate and facilitated by agreement on practical arrangements. 2. Once litigation is reasonably contemplated, prospective parties should take reasonable steps to preserve documents that are reasonably likely to be discoverable.
3. Parties must make initial disclosure of documents referred to in a pleading or used when preparing the pleading. The disclosure must be made at the time that the pleading is served.

4. Parties must discuss and endeavour to agree on an appropriate discovery order prior to the first case management conference. The discovery order must address the matters set forth in the new discovery checklist in the rules. 5. At the case management conference, the judge may dispense with the discovery, order standard discovery or order tailored discovery. Where standard discovery is required by the judge, it entails the production of documents that the party relies upon and documents that adversely affect that party's or another party's case.

Tailored Discovery
• Tailored discovery is presumed to apply instead of standard discovery in the following situations:
a. when the costs of standard discovery are disproportionate to the matters at issue; b. where either party makes allegations of fraud or dishonesty; c. where the sums at issue exceed $NZ 2.5 million dollars; d. where the parties agree to tailored discovery.

Tailored discovery can involve more or less discovery than standard discovery. In addition, tailored discovery requires discovery to proceed by category or through a method that facilitates the identification of particular documents.


Parties have a statutory obligation to conduct a reasonable search for discoverable documents.

7. Documents must be listed in accordance with a new listing and exchange protocol set out in Part 2 of Schedule 9 to the Rules, unless the parties agree otherwise. 8. Inspection of documents occurs by way of an electronic exchange of documents, unless the court orders otherwise. This means that paper documents must be scanned electronically so that electronic copies can be exchanged.

In addition
• The Rules impose additional upfront costs on parties, relating to the parties' preservation of documents and requiring the parties to engage in dialogue sufficient to reach agreement on discovery and inspection issues. • These additional cost burdens imposed by the Rules are predicated on the assumption that by requiring these actions early on the parties will realize substantial savings later in the course of the proceedings.

Role of Technology – Rules Committee
• 'delay and costs can be reduced by moving to an electronic discovery regime while the efficiency of the discovery process and the ability to achieve a just outcome can be improved'. • 'technology can provide more accurate solutions which can assist in identifying the most important documents more quickly... the move to electronic discovery does no more than reflect what is happening in the profession in any event'. • Recommendations are incorporated in R. 8.2(2)(c), which requires the parties to ensure technology is used efficiently and effectively during the different phases of the discovery process

What is E-Discovery?
• The methods by which the parties use electronic means to assist in finding, identifying, locating, retrieving, reviewing, listing or exchanging documents to satisfy discovery obligations. • Rules do not mandate the use of digital tools and methods to find, identify, locate, retrieve or review documents • But such tools and methods, when properly implemented, can lower the monetary costs of the litigation and accord with cost and proportionality principles.

ESI – Electronically Stored Information
• As part of the obligation to conduct a reasonable search, parties must recognize what constitutes electronically stored information. • ESI = information that is stored electronically

Includes: • e-mail, • SMS text messages, • voice mail, • instant messages, • word processed documents, • spread sheets, • data bases, • images such as JPEG or TIFF files, PDFs, • electronic calendars, • audio files and • internal and external web sites.

Primary and Non-Primary Data
• Rules discuss how the data is accessed, differentiating between primary data and nonprimary data. • Primary data is defined as data that is readily retrievable, • Non-primary data is generally archival data that is not readily retrievable.
e.g.Data stored on enterprise back-up tapes for disaster recovery purposes contain non-primary data for the purposes of the rules.

Some Concepts
• Metadata – data about data
'in the case of an electronic document, metadata is typically imbedded information about a document that is not readily accessible once the native electronic document has been converted into an electronic image or paper document, for example, the date of which the document was last printed or amended. Metadata may be created automatically by a computer system (system metadata) or may be created manually by a user (application metadata). Depending upon the circumstances of a case, metadata may be discoverable.'

• PDF (portable document format) is a file format that enables documents to be displayed or printed in a manner that preserves the format originally used by the author'. • The Rules state that a PDF file may be either a searchable image file or an unsearchable image file. • Should always be in searchable format

Native Electronic Format
• native electronic document or native file format defined as 'an electronic document stored in the original form in which it was created by computer software programme'. • Lawyers often create a document in Microsoft Word and convert it into a PDF before e-mailing the document. • The Microsoft Word document is the 'native electronic document' and the PDF document is not
– because the PDF does not contain all the metadata found in the Microsoft Word document.

• The Rules allow for lawyers to exchange documents, which includes e-mails, electronically in native format or PDF.

The Discovery Checklist
• Comes into play at the beginning of proceedings. • Provides a roadmap for the discovery process leading up to the first case management conference and beyond • Reflects the early discovery obligations of the parties and of counsel.

The Five Steps
1. assessing proportionality 2. the extent of the search 3. tailored discovery 4. listing and exchange 5. presenting documents at trial.

Tailored Discovery
• Does not inevitably follow in every case • Consider whether the default position is suitable and proportionate, or • Whether a tailored discovery order is required to address the extent to which a party must search for documents and • Which reflects the particular circumstances of the case.

Relevant Factors for Tailored Discovery
• the number of documents involved; • the nature and complexity of the proceeding; and • the ease and expense of retrieval of any particular document; and • the significance of any document which is likely to be located during the search.

Tailored Discovery by Agreement
• Should cover:
– the categories of documents required to be discovered by the parties (limited to what is reasonable and proportionate); – methods and strategies to conduct a reasonable and proportionate search for the documents; – whether a staged approach may be appropriate.

Listing and Exchange Requirements
• to reduce unnecessary costs of listing documents, parties are encouraged to:
– Use native electronic versions of documents as much as possible; and – Use the extracted metadata from native electronic documents instead of manually listing documents; and – Convert documents to image format only when it is decided they are to be produced for discovery; and – If document images are to be numbered, only number those images if they are to be produced for discovery.'

Document Review
• The discovery checklist identifies methods and strategies for locating documents. • The parties must seek agreement on the methods and strategies appropriate to conduct a reasonable and proportionate search for the documents.

Search Solutions
• keyword searches; • other automated searches and techniques for culling documents including • concept searching, • clustering technology, • document prioritisation technology – predictive coding, • e-mail threading, • and any other new tool or technique; • a method to be used to identify duplicate documents • Native file review • where the specialist assistance is required to locate documents efficiently and accurately.

• Technology has created problems in the discovery arena by vastly extending the scope of potential discovery but it may also be a solution to these increasing volumes. • The technology must be used efficiently and effectively to enable a more proportionate and cost-effective discovery process. • It may assist the parties in every aspect of the process from the identification of information through to its presentation in the courtroom. • However the main advantage may be seen as the cost benefits that it can bring at the initial stages.
• For further information see Harvey D.J. & Garrie D. New Zealand’s New Rules and Electronic Discovery (2012) 23 SCL Computers and Law Issue 1 p 36 or http://www.scl.org/site.aspx?i=ed26113 (last accessed 5 July 2012) Harvey D.J. & Garrie D. E-Discovery in New Zealand: The Impact of the New High

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