Email & Litigation
The disclosure or discovery phase of litigation in modern times tends to concentrate on the abundance
of evidence available by way of e-mail communications, and there have been a number of high profile cases reported in the United States of America in particular that have illustrated the problems a party can face if it transpires that e-mails have been deleted or entire archives of back- up tapes have been destroyed or overwritten (note, this issue concerns all legal proceedings in every jurisdiction, but the cases are better reported in the United States of America). The usual response by senior management to this issue is to assume that the IT department are responsible for retaining e-mail communications. However, the IT department have no such responsibility. The IT department are, at best only the custodians of the records created by the organization: in a commercial organization, it is the company secretary who carries the legal responsibility for the preservation of business records, yet few company secretaries understand this duty.