Playing Catch-up: UK Gov’t E-Discovery

Playing Catch-up: UK Gov’t E-Discovery

In April 2016, Master Matthews of the English High Court issued a precedent-setting decision in Pyrrho Investments and MWB Business Exchange v. MWB Property and others: parties were permitted to use predictive coding. This was a first for TAR in the UK courts, exemplifying that “e-discovery isn’t just for Americans anymore.” But the British government is struggling with a “lagging e-disclosure framework” that makes the e-discovery process less “fruitful” than in the private sector.

A Legaltech News report this week highlighted the unique issue in the United Kingdom: While the government is using e-disclosure, as it is called, more often, their framework is far behind that of the private or commercial sector.

Exigent CEO David Holme stated that there are few government departments that use up-to-date databases or have a strong information governance strategy in place, which could put the e-disclosure framework behind a decade or more. While the e-disclosure initiative will continue, says Holme, strategy or IT infrastructure investment is necessary for “material improvements” in the process.

Ken Allan, a digital specialist for 7Safe, stated that the WannaCry ransomware hack showed how under-resourced public bodies are and also placed great pressure on the UK government “to invest in the public sector’s legacy data infrastructure.”

Legaltech News reminds readers that activation date for the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast approaching: May 2018. The UK government has stated that its impending exit from the European Union will not affect the start of the GDPR. Says 7Safe, private companies want the assurance that sensitive data in public sector systems is safe, secure and cost effectively managed.

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