Category Archives: Civil Evidence Act 1995

Paperless and the Civil Evidence Act 1995

We all can agree that the concept of the paperless office is becoming a reality as more systems and programs are been designed but do we have to consider the legal and compliance requirements when thinking about preparing for a paperless system.

The answer is yes we do, but unfortunately there is not a yes and no situation in how you design this, as you can appreciate companies and organizations will have different system and processes .The self employed person with a small company will not have to worry about this area, the main area is the items that we would recommend not to copy or transfer into a electronic document.

If we look at the Civil Evidence Act 1995, you could be right in assuming that this is really for the laws, courts and soliciting professions and in most cases this will be the case.

How can this Act assist the paperless system, the main area is that if you want to introduce a paperless system, transferring paper into a electronic document may have to follow certain guidelines. The problem with this is not that you can not copy paper documents in to electronic documents but it’s the area of integrity and authenticity, i.e. proof that it has not been tampered with and that it still retains its integrity as an original record.

We must also remember that at this point that they are so many ISO and BSI rules and guidelines that certain areas will cross over into each sections so therefore compliance can be covered from one guide line to another.

Most of the information will tell you that the guidelines are set out in BSI DISC PD0008, the British Standard (see older post) which relates to the Legal Admissibility of Evidential Information Stored Electronically. It provides a framework and guidelines that identify key areas of good practice

So in real terms what are the guide lines, Audit data requirements, Access control considerations, Interface requirements and backup obligations?

In very English terms it’s the Big Brother of the office, all documents are traced and tracked so if any printing, scanning and copying happens to a document it can be traceable and auditable.

So how is this connected to the paperless system and how does it assist this concept the main question you have to answer is? What is the original documents in the first place, is it an electronic transaction or a paper document that will have to be scanned.

To place this act in any category with the paperless system there are many areas to take into account and Audit trails are one of them. So if one of the answer is that the original document is presented in an electronic form then this has crossed over, to what you could say is a start of the paperless system to what degree do you conduct this audit system, This is really dependant to the type of business you control.

I do believe that every small business should have a basic audit program, we are not talking about the expensive and complicated bespoke systems, but to have a simple system within your structure is a good house keeping practice.

I have placed a few links, showing the basic systems which are designed for the smaller organization and Equitrac is probably a system that is used for the bigger and more professional organizations.

We still must remember that the audit trail is only a small part of the act and all other sections must be taken into account.

The other areas will be posted later in the same category.