What’s eDisclosure and how can it help your litigation?

What is eDiscclosure or eDiscovery?

Electronic Disclosure or eDisclosure refers to the ‘disclosure’ of electronically stored information (ESI) in the UK and most commonwealth countries. In the US, the same process is called Electronic Discovery or eDiscovery.

eDisclosure or eDiscovery came about a few decades ago when most of us started to store information digitally, in computers, company servers, phones, social networking sites and cloud computing, among other means. Examples of electronically stored information (ESI) include but not limited to:

  • Emails
  • Documents and spreadsheets
  • Image files and videos
  • Text and instant messages
  • Calls and voice mails
  • Appointment and calendar files
  • Metadata and other embedded data
  • Files that have been deleted

When we take a case to a court of law, we need to present evidence to strengthen the case. Given the fact that most of us now use electronic devices and software to communicate and conduct business, the evidence is most likely to exist in digital formats and across various devices. This is where eDisclosure comes to help – the process of eDisclosure involves legal technologists, sometimes digital forensic specialists, using leading-edge technology to search, locate, secure and preserve the relevant data from a wide variety of sources such as file systems, servers and mobile devices. The process must be performed in a forensically controlled manner so the evidence can be admissible to the court.

The use of software is vital as a robust system can rapidly scan the data sources and locations to identify likely files of interest and then to use further search and workflow to categorise and prioritise candidate evidence that can then be subject to human review. Achieving this optimal level of efficiency also means less time and costs to you, regardless you’re the plaintiff or the defendant involved in a civil or criminal case.

At Blackhawk Intelligence, we adhere to the procedures laid out in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) when working with your legal team on eDisclosure or eDiscovery. The procedures include:

  • Identification – developing a plan and identifying potential relevant ESI, including systems and people using the systems.
  • Collection – having a collection plan and choosing the preferred methods to acquire the data.
  • Processing – establishing micro-processes, anything from converting legacy formats to usable formats, de-duplication hashing, itemisation, to indexing, so relevant data can be forwarded to a human review phase.
  • Review – introducing a review plan, performing data analysis, conducting reviews and evaluating facts.
  • Analysis – analysis happens at every step mentioned above and at this stage after review, it refers to the legal team using the verified data to develop a strategy and make decisions.
  • Production – preparing the data in usable formats according to specifications and timelines.
  • Preservation – ensuring that all relevant evidence is admissible to the court.
  • Presentation – displaying the appropriate ESI before audiences.

Electronic Discovery Reference Model ©edrm.net

How eDisclosure or eDiscovery can help your litigation?

If you’re a plaintiff and the evidence that you need to support your court case exists in digital formats, then your legal team would certainly mention eDisclosure or eDiscovery to you when they discuss the case with you initially. They may also give you an eDisclosure Questionnaire that aims to identify what electronically stored information you (or third parties) hold, where it is, what the potential issues are, and how it would be preserved and disclosed in the court.

If you’re a defendant, the moment you become aware that you are involved in a court case, you have a duty to ensure that all relevant evidence is retained and preserved appropriately. Your legal team should also discuss eDisclosure with you at once. For example, they may advise you to notify your employees (former and present) who may have held the relevant documents central to the case, along with suggestions on how to preserve the evidence.

When it comes to dealing with electronically stored information, instead of you (or someone else) going through the data painstaking and subject the process to human error, your legal team is likely to recommend using an independent, trustworthy and professional eDisclosure service provider like our team here at Blackhawk Intelligence. The benefits of using us for eDisclosure are immense, including:

  • We use leading-edge technology to achieve greater accuracy.
  • We focus on efficiency, meaning less time and costs to you.
  • We have a global reach, able to handle multilingual cases across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Our multidisciplinary team, consisting of forensic accountants, digital forensics specialists, data security experts, solicitors and legal technologists, enables us to meet unique challenges.
  • To the automated processes, we also add customised workflows supervised by an experienced legal technologist to meet the requirements of your case.
  • We are committed to protecting the data we are entrusted with. Our ISO 27001 certification – the gold standard for information security management – means our team and systems have been tested to the highest standards.
  • We have a flexible approach to support your budget. All prices and proposed timeline are quoted before the start of a case and without hidden charge.

Examples of court cases helped

We’ve helped law firms, companies, government agencies and individuals in the UK and around the world with eDisclosure or eDiscovery. The court cases we handle include:

  • Civil litigation
  • Commercial disputes
  • Corporate fraud
  • Accounting fraud
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Insolvency investigation
  • Criminal defence
  • Government and law enforcement investigations

To find out more about eDisclosure or eDiscovery, call Blackhawk Intelligence on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.