Legal Foundations and the Paperless office

Most of the following information will only effect a small amount of you and is mainly towards the office of law, but it is interesting reading and does help us to understand the general roots of this area, not only that, but with a ever increasing management system applications and management polices this is a good understanding up to appoint of its origin. 

Civil Evidence Act 1995

In the Court’s view with regards to if any of these paper records can now be held within an electronic storage solution or form. The Civil Evidence Act 1995 provides that copies of information don’t need to be in their original form in order to be treated as evidence in a Court of Law.

A copy of an original document will be considered as evidence is largely based upon its authenticity, i.e. proof, based on an audit trail, that it has not been tampered with and that it still retains in its integrity and to its original record or form.

Electronic Communications Act 2000

UK Courts have now recognized the legality of electronic contracts and signatures as a result of the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and in general the key objective of a written signature is to demonstrate that an individual intended to take up a contract and understood the terms and conditions.

The functions provided by the written signature can be achieved using a series of technical controls and electronic signatures.

“The issue that presents a challenge in the absence of direct case law is the level ofInterpretation around the amount of information required to establish the facts around electronic contracts and signatures should it be required to be resolved in a Court. So, the challenge now moves on to how integrity of original paper documents, as well as the authenticity of electronic signatures and contracts can be ensured when using an electronic storage solution, i.e. how to prove integrity to a Court of Law” (Ison, white paper 2008)

Honesty and Storage Requirements to a Court

Or put it an other way integrity, generally the court are in a more favor to the companies and organizations showing conformity to BSI DISC PD0008, the British Standard which relates to the ‘Legal Admissibility and Evidential Weight of Information Stored.

The standard relating to this has been republished over the years; it started life as BSI DISC PD0008 was re-born as PID 2008: 2004 and in 2008 was revised to PID 0008: 2008

The BSI DISC PD0008 provides a framework and guidelines that identify key areas of good practice for the implementation and operation of electronic storage systems, whether or not any information held therein is ever required as evidence in event of a dispute. As such, compliance with this Code of Practice is regarded as a demonstration of responsible business management, although it doesn’t guarantee legal admissibility.

The code provides clear and concise direction for companies to implement an acceptable document management system.

The code is based upon several principles and is core to the code regardless of system or device:

Recognized and understand all types of information – implement an information policy.

  • Understand the legal issues and execute duty of care responsibilities.
  • Identify and specify business processes and procedures.
  • Identify enabling technologies to support business processes and procedures.
  • Monitor and audit business processes and procedures.

 As you can see the main theme is policy and audit.

For more information of this see the link below:

Legal and regulatory requirements demand that organizations retain a significant number and variety of records in the form of contracts, transactional records, employment records, accounting data, research data and in some cases correspondence.

Traditionally this type of information held in original paper format including contracts with original signatures, have all been accepted in a Court of Law as proof of an evidential record.


About martin smith

A degree in Engineering Management ,who is just trying to make life a bit easier, for anyone who wishes to read these articles. View all posts by martin smith

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