Digitalization of civil proceedings in the USA: consolidation of the procedure for electronic disclosure of evidence (“e-discovery”)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: associate Professor of Department of Civil Law and Civil Procedure and Private International Law, Law Institute
Affiliation: RUDN University
Address: Russian Federation,
Journal nameGosudarstvo i pravo
EditionIssue 11

The article notes that electronic disclosure of evidence (“e-discovery”) refers to the disclosure of evidence during the pre-trial stage of court proceedings, such as civil proceedings (litigation) or government investigations, when the requested information is in electronic format. Electronic information is considered different from paper because of its immaterial form, volume, transience and impermanence. Electronic information is usually accompanied by metadata, which is not present in paper documents and which can play an important role as evidence. The main document that allowed the digitalization of US civil proceedings was the amendments of 2006 and 2015 to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing the conduct of Court proceedings in US federal Courts. It is emphasized that one of the most hotly contested aspects of electronic disclosure of evidence has become the problem of electronic data security. The destruction of emails and other electronic data is as egregious and punishable by the court as the destruction of other documentary evidence related to a civil lawsuit. The decision in the case “Zubulake v. UBS Warburg” 2005 established important practices regarding “e-discovery”. In addition, this decision showed that various specialists can be involved in the project of electronic disclosure of evidence: lawyers of the parties, forensic experts, IT managers and office managers. In this regard, the comparative analysis of the above issues is of particular importance.

KeywordsUS civil procedure, disclosure of evidence, electronic evidence, electronic records, pre-trial stage of civil procedure
AcknowledgmentThe research was carried out with the financial support of the Grant of the President of the Russian Federation No. NSH-3270.2022.2 “Evolution or revolution of civil proceedings: digitalization through the prism of artificial intelligence”
Publication date29.11.2022
Number of characters40875
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