Email Evidence Preservation. How to Balance the Obligation and the High Cost
Series/Report no.Lex Electronica; Vol. 14, No 2
With the great advancement of computer technologies, electronic information starts to play a more and more important role in modern business transactions. Therefore, electronic data, such as e-mail, is frequently required in the process of litigation. Companies, on the one hand, have the legal obligations to produce this kind of e-mail evidence. On the other hand, they also undertake a high cost of e-mail evidence preservation due to the great volume on a daily basis. This Article firstly analyzed features of e-mail evidence with the comparison of paper evidence. Then, it discussed about how e-mail is authenticated and admitted into evidence. By using the case laws in different legal aspects and current Canadian legislations, the Author demonstrated the importance of e-mail evidence preservation in ordinary business course. After that, the Article focused on the practical dilemma of the companies between their legal obligation and the expensive cost to preserve e-mail evidence. Finally, the Author proposed suggestions to both companies and courts on how to coordinate the obligation and cost. More specifically, while companies should adopt a document management policy to implement e-mail evidence preservation, courts need to take into consideration of the high cost of e-mail evidence preservation in electronic discovery.