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Contributions To E-disclosure From Steven Whitaker, The Queen’s Remembrance

By Expert Author: Cclgroup Ltd

It is also important to acknowledge the immense benefit that lawyers, both within this jurisdiction as well as right across the globe, from Singapore to the States, have derived from Steven Whitaker’s wisdom, experience and guidance on e-disclosure and related matters.

As Queen’s Remembrance, Steven Whitaker was the holder of an ancient judicial office, nearly as old as the office of the Lord High Chancellor, and presided over two of the oldest legal ceremonies, the Rendering of the Quit Rents to the Crown and the Trial of the Pyx.

However, Steven Whitaker will undoubtedly be remembered more for his involvement with the development of procedural law around a recent phenomenon; how to deal with electronic evidence effectively, rather than the quaint and archaic ceremonial parts of his role that he also dutifully discharged since 2007. Steven sat on the Civil Procedure Rule Committee from 2002 until 2008. He also set up and led the Working Party that looked at how to deal with e-disclosure.

Steven Whitaker has provided an essential education in his judicial capacity to both the judiciary and lawyers on the importance of e-disclosure, and he will hopefully continue to impart his considerable knowledge and accumulated wisdom on this topic in a personal capacity too.

From the various tributes, both the personal and professional, the one that stands out most is from another leading early exponent of proper e-disclosure practice and procedure, Chris Dale. Chris has worked with Steven closely, whether as a member of the Working Party or by regularly sharing a platform at e-disclosure related conferences globally.

Chris Dale makes two important observations on Steven’s contributions which deserve to be repeated. The first is the way in which Steven Whitaker pioneered pre-emptive, proactive judicial case management. This now seems as if Steven was acting almost presciently with the Jackson Reforms in mind, with the general emphasis on active judicial case management as well as the specific judicial focus on e-disclosure given the new menu option under CPR 31.5A.

Good ale v Ministry of Justice is still certainly the ultimate example of how a judge that actually understands tools and techniques, is then able to ensure e-disclosure exercises are undertaken as effectively and as proportionately as possible. The Electronic Documents Questionnaire he pioneered in this case, which has since been formally incorporated into Practice Direction 31B and has also been explicitly approved by Lord Justice Jackson, still remains the basis for scoping e-disclosure exercises.

The final but most important observation that Chris Dale has put so eloquently that I make no apologies for quoting almost verbatim, is that Steven Whitaker’s greatest skill, and arguably the one that will be most sorely missed, was his ability in making procedure the servant of justice.

For more information on e-disclosure, computer investigations and cyber security, or any of CCL’s products and services, call us on 01789 261200, email info@cclgroupltd.com or visit www.cclgroupltd.com.

Author:

Sara Jones at CCL Group - the UK’s leading supplier of e-disclosure and digital forensics consultancy, includes: computer forensics, mobile phone forensics and computer forensics investigation, for more information visit www.cclgroupltd.com.

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