Dispute Resolution - Electronic Discovery
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The discovery and production of electronically stored information, commonly called e-discovery, has become an increasingly significant issue in litigation across Canada. A national committee has produced the Sedona Canada Principles to establish national guidelines for electronic discovery. These guidelines are thought to be compatible with the rules of procedure in each of the Canadian territories and provinces.
In Ontario, parties are now required to formulate and adhere to a discovery plan to address all aspects of the discovery process, including the exchange of electronic documents. The parties are required to consult and have regard to the Sedona Canada Principles when preparing their discovery plan. The following principles are among the most significant recommendations of Sedona Canada:
- Once litigation is reasonably anticipated, the parties must consider their obligations to take reasonable and good-faith steps to preserve potentially relevant electronic information.
- As early as possible in the litigation, the parties should meet and confer regarding e-discovery issues, and should agree upon the format in which electronically stored information will be produced.
- In any proceedings, the parties should ensure that the steps taken in the e-discovery process are proportionate to the nature of the case and the significance of the electronic evidence in the case.