eDiscovery in SA - Cloud, GDPR, Brexit, POPIA. What does it all mean for eDiscovery in SA?

Many of us would be forgiven if we admitted to being thoroughly fed up, even bored, by all the writings, webinars, podcasts and seminars on GDPR in particular, so I promise that this is not just another one. There are experts across the world far more versed in the nuts and bolts of GDPR than I am and as I say reams and reams have already been written. What I am interested in is a more general view of the topics in the title and specifically how they affect or could affect discovery and eDiscovery in SA. 

Let us look at Data Protection initially, and in particular how we are affected in SA as far as discovery is concerned given the arrival of GDPR and the advent of Brexit and POPIA. It is easy for us in SA to dismiss GDPR and Brexit as having nothing to do with us but the reality is that they could have some relevance to cases in which SA law firms are involved. Any SA corporations or institutions that need to comply with GDPR will (hopefully!) have dealt with that by now and I do not intend to go into it. My starting point is the position of lawyers when taking instructions from their clients at the outset of a litigation, arbitration, competition matter or investigation. Obviously they enquire about the sources of data and documents and should also be asking if potential custodians use portable devices for business communications, but now they need to make further enquiries about their clients’ business. They will need to know if the client works with suppliers, customers or partners based in the EU or if any of its employees are EU citizens. If the client is a global corporation with a site in SA, then it will be essential to know if any data which resides on the company’s servers or infrastructure contains information about persons residing in the EU. For example if the client has premises in Paris as well as Johannesburg  then it may be that having access to HR records which includes ALL personnel and not just SA staff is a potential breach if any of that information “loses” its privacy. As I said I do not want to write a whole piece on GDPR as it is very well covered, for example in this article which I saw on Infology’s website and written by a very well known technology and eDiscovery expert in the USA, Tom O’Connor

Before dealing with the SA eDiscovery aspect, a brief look at the situation vis-à-vis Brexit and GDPR. I made my views clear on Brexit some time ago so no need to re-visit that, but clearly Britain needed to do something very quickly in the light of the Brexit decision or otherwise it would not have embraced or been included in GDPR. This would have left us in the strange position, almost back to where we were years ago, whereby one European country would have different DP laws than another. Anyway, the Brits solved it by passing a new DP Act this year, The Data Protection Act 2018, which is the UK’s implementation of GDPR and therefore the UK is now in the same position as other countries in Europe as far as DP is concerned.  This means that we can treat the UK in the same way and I read an article of interest by a UK shipping litigation law firm BDM, on this subject.

Of course, here in SA we have our own DP legislation, POPIA, allegedly ready for implementation this year. We need it, as the only laws preventing the drain of data from this country at the moment are GDPR and the UK’s DP Act 2018 which seems a little strange. It is expected that POPIA will also interpret its regulation around the principles of GDPR so we will be reading from the same page. 

In my eDiscovery work in the UK I came across Data Protection many, many times more often than not when US service providers and lawyers instructed me to collect and process data and documents relating to one of their global cases and the client had premises somewhere in the UK or other parts of Europe. It never ceased to amaze me how lightly the US took Data Protection and to an extent, still do. You will see from the first article mentioned above that there is no right of privacy within the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights unlike Europe where privacy is a fundamental right. This caused many difficulties when dealing with eDiscovery as the US clients wanted all data collected and shipped back to the US for processing and hosting or had us deal with it in the UK. The latter was better practice from a DP aspect as we were registered under DP laws as data processors and therefore were entitled and able to process data which may contain private information. The problems arose when the data was to be shipped back to the USA. Despite warnings from us about potential breaches, our US clients often ignored them and simply demanded the data. There was in place the ill fated Safe Harbour principles eventually brought down by Max Schrems in the landmark case in 2015 and it is very interesting to note that since the implementation of GDPR last month he has already filed suits against Google and Facebook for breaches, claiming damages of close to 4m euros each. If proved they would also attract huge fines. You see the problem is that whatever is done by lawyers and/or service providers, it is the corporate client who faces the heavy financial sanctions which are based upon a percentage of turnover. Safe Harbour was replaced by the “Privacy Shield which was nothing other than Safe Harbour under a different name and still self regulated! The mistake made by many instances from the US was that they thought, armed with a Court Order from the US and a Safe Harbour or Privacy Shield certificate, they could remove any data they liked from within Europe. Nice idea but one which was often met by a Data Controller within the company in Europe telling them to take a course of action involving sex and travel!

Here in SA I have deep concerns about DP and Privacy for all of the reasons mentioned above and POPIA even extends its reaches beyond the rights of individuals but includes entities. It isn’t and shouldn’t be a problem, if SA lawyers and service providers understand DP and Privacy and deal with it properly. Just think of all the cases and investigations in SA involving financial institutions in which, obviously, there is a great deal of information about individuals and removing or processing that information without consent would be the clearest breach. How is your SA client going to react when he is faced with a fine of millions of Rand because lawyers and service providers failed to advise and deal with DP correctly? Fortunately, there are ways of utilising some of the features of eDiscovery technology to materially assist in this but of course that is of little use unless eDiscovery technology is actually being used! Furthermore, it is of even less use if the service provider does not understand this and fails to advise and then act upon it. The big point about Data Protection as far as SA is concerned is that it provides an opportunity for eDiscovery providers and lawyers to insist that data remains in SA and is therefore processed and hosted here. Are we taking this opportunity in SA???

So, now we talk about the Cloud and how that affects eDiscovery, especially in relation to Data Protection. Undoubtedly the whole concept of Cloud based solutions has taken root and is expanding globally and I wholeheartedly applaud that concept. However, again, I have concerns as far as Data Protection is concerned and therefore, again how eDiscovery is affected. Cloud installations offer excellent security and avoid the huge cost of infrastructure making it a valuable concept for law firms, service providers and corporations alike. The question remains however, where is the data hosted? I know of many excellent eDiscovery solutions which are cloud based but the cloud installation is in the US and this will NOT be acceptable in the light of GDPR or, I suggest, POPIA. It is likely that if the cloud installation is European based then, for example, POPIA will find that acceptable as it can be established that the data would be hosted in a privacy environment that is, at least as well, if not better regulated, than SA through POPIA. It is still essential, in my view, to alert the end client to this so that they can make the decision about where its data will be hosted. So many cases here in SA involve parastatals. How do you think they would react to knowledge that their data is being hosted outside SA whether it is in an area with good DP and privacy or not? I have been involved in numerous cases over the years whereby the end clients insisted on their data remaining in the country of origin or in some cases even in their own premises. 

I hope that, by now, you can see my real concerns in SA over DP and Privacy and cloud based hosting and I am finding, more and more, that I am asked to comment and advise on these issues. Maybe that is because I prompt it, but it needs to be prompted by law firms and service providers alike. eDiscovery technology can help enormously once these issues have been canvassed properly with the end clients. I have said, many times, that the combination of DP and Privacy laws and eDiscovery being incorporated into our Uniform Rules will be a huge game changer for SA. Regular readers will know that I have worked tirelessly on having the Rules changed for 3 years now and we have been waiting for almost 18 months for an update from the Rules Board to no avail. I have had an article on eDiscovery in SA accepted by De Rebus and await its publication. My hope is that this will have the widest possible readership and will encourage more people and institutions to lobby for this crucial change.

As ever, do not hesitate to contact for advice or assistance on this or other eDiscovery matters.

eDiscovery Blogs

eDiscovery in SA - Best practices in South Africa

Regular readers will know that this blog was recently awarded a spot as the 54th best eDiscovery blog in the world and a recent post in the blog which occupies the No. 1 spot prompted me to write this one for SA. The No. 1 spot belongs to Cloud Nine and their most recent post refers to best practices in eDiscovery

I read this post, liked it and it is genuinely thought provoking, but it occurred to me that as far as best practice is concerned, here in SA, it would go over the heads of many people. This is not a criticism but it is a fact and the reason is, that the eDiscovery market and industry here is immature compared to other parts of the world. I will talk later about this post from Cloud Nine but first I want to emphasise that the best practices I will be referring to are aimed at SA because, bluntly, there are other jurisdictions which are way ahead of us. 

The beginning is usually a good place to start and in all cases this would be identifying the source of documents and data that are likely to be relevant or at least need to be investigated. Best practice in this regard should stem from a discussion between the lawyers and the client as to the key dates, the key players, the sources of all data and documents followed by a professional, probably forensic, collection of that data. Accepting printed versions or PDF’s of original electronic documents from your client is not good practice at all. When identifying key players remember to ask about mobile devices as they contain all kinds of communications which are discoverable. 

Unless the only genuine documentation in a case is a few files of hard copy (which is highly unlikely in this day and age when more than 90% of all business communications are created electronically) then this is the time, if not sooner, to consider and appoint professional help in the form of an eDiscovery Consultant and eDiscovery service provider. The earlier the better in order to maximise their value to the case and to the client.

Along with the client and professional eDiscovery advisers, begin to consider a list of keywords which will help to identify potentially relevant documents and at the same time eliminate those not likely to be relevant. I have written about keywords in the past and it is a process which I still believe to be valuable in SA….but with riders. There is little value in choosing words which will likely result in so many “hits” as to be pointless. Equally, there is a risk that the choice of keywords will overlook potentially relevant documents. Furthermore, there is a huge risk in relying solely on the first drawn list. Those jurisdictions more conversant with eDiscovery are leaning more and more to avoid over-reliance on keyword searching as the sole or main method of filtering documents in a collection,  by using other methods. Look at the post from Cloud Nine to which I referred at the beginning and you will see the results from a comparison exercise of keywords against another feature, technology assisted review. All of this is specialist stuff, and in the same way that you would engage an engineering consultant in a construction case or a medical consultant in a medical negligence case so you should be engaging eDiscovery specialists to advise.

Assuming your case includes a large element of electronic documents it is good practice to inform the other side early in the proceedings as to precisely how you intend to discover and what you will and will not include. You will also expect reciprocity! In “eDiscovery mature” jurisdictions we are well and truly in an age where collaboration and proportionality play increasingly important roles and SA lawyers would do well to begin to change their mindset and traditional ways of working, to the 21st century methods adopted elsewhere.

As I said earlier it is important to avoid printing electronic documents as far as possible. Recently I was involved in a matter here in SA in which literally hundreds of thousands of pages of documents were printed straight from the native electronic version. An unbelievable waste of time and money. That said, there is often in a case some genuine hard copy documents especially in SA and the wider Africa, and if they are the only documents in existence then they must be treated properly. Simply scanning them, applying OCR software to make the text searchable is, by itself, not good practice. Best practice is to process the paper so that it has the same properties as original electronic documents when it comes to review. This entails not just scanning and OCR but the unitisation and coding of these documents as per my post on the subject.

Now is the time in the case when the lawyers need to be working very closely with their eDiscovery advisers on the use of the most appropriate technology features that are available to reduce the amount of documents that need to be physically seen. In other words, now it is about working smart to get to the really crucial documents as quickly and effectively as possible and to filter and set aside those documents which are of no value. If any lawyer thinks it is best practice for them to physically view every single document in a case then they would be wrong. Indeed, in other jurisdictions it is likely that such an action would result in a rebuke from the Judge and. almost certainly, penalties as to costs. 

Review is another stage in which efficiencies should play a part. This is the longest and most expensive part of any case and best practices would include the use of as much filtering technology as possible to reduce the number of documents requiring human eyes. A further option to consider carefully is the use of outsourced service providers specialising in managed review and the combination of this coupled with the use of technology is very compelling to the paying client. SA is fortunate to have a number of providers specialising in this field and I would certainly include it is good practice especially when there is a large collection and the review needs to be done in tiers. This drastically reduces the number of documents requiring the “eyes” of higher rate lawyers and, of course means that they can spend more time reviewing those documents that really do need their expertise. 

It is incontrovertible that the use of eDiscovery technology is best practice. Indeed in many jurisdictions in the world it is mandatory, and should be here. One misconception in SA is that the use of this technology its too expensive. When one considers that the review of documents in a case takes up 70% of its costs, the use of technology drastically reduces that figure and overall, using technology reduces the cost of a case by at last 30%. Another misconception here - not helped by s15 of ECTA 2002 - is the inference that electronic documents are “inferior” as far as evidential reliability is concerned. The truth is quite, quite the opposite as I have mentioned many times.

An interesting “chicken and egg” question on this topic is, which comes first, law firms taking eDiscovery technology to their clients or the clients demanding that their external lawyers utilise technology? Elsewhere in the world, the increased use of technology and ongoing developments in technology is and has been driven by what I term as “globalcorporation.com”. Maybe that is what we need in SA - more corporations demanding the use of technology to reduce the cost of their cases and ensure that relevant documents are found quickly, so that the cases can be determined correctly, or settled to their best advantage. For sure, without the use of eDiscovery technology, best practices will not be the norm.


eDiscovery Blogs

eDiscovery in SA - Does spoliation and proportionality have any relevance to eDiscovery?

I could begin and end this post very quickly by simply answering the title question, “Probably very little…. at the moment”. However, that would serve little purpose as these two subjects are extremely relevant to eDiscovery elsewhere in the world and therefore should be noted carefully here in SA by law firms, their clients, and service providers alike. 

Let us first look at spoliation. Strictly, it is any wrongful deprivation of someone else’s right of possession. One can imagine actions made, for example, by landlords who take matters into their own hands when a tenant fails to pay rent, such as, changing locks or switching off power etc. I was also interested to read a recent article in De Rebus referring to a Director being denied access to his workplace- 

 The remedy in SA is a Mandament van Spolie which effectively restores the status quo. 

In the UK, spoliation appears to go back as far as the 15th century in relation to Ecclesiastical issues involving Church ownership of property but we are not talking about property or rights of access in this post, we are talking about spoliation of evidence.  In fact I would say that if spoliation was mentioned in the UK, and even more so in the USA, it would only mean the destruction of electronically stored information (ESI) in connection with proceedings or investigations. Spoliation arises from what is known as Legal Hold and this is a principle which is much stricter in the US than the UK (or anywhere else) and that is almost certainly because the sanctions are more severe in the US. The UK refers to this more as preservation, but whatever it is called the outcome is the same, and what we are really referring to is the retention and destruction of ESI, highlighted when litigation cases and/or investigations are anticipated. No one suggests for a moment that all ESI (or any other types of documents) must be kept for ever and there have been numerous cases in various parts of the world on this subject. It is more about the timing of the destruction rather than the act itself. If there is a company documented policy and procedure, that, for example, emails and electronic documents will be destroyed after 5 years, and that is adhered to, then it is highly unlikely that sanctions would be implemented.  However, the issue here is the destruction of data once a case is anticipated or initiated and such an act would be spoliation and would attract sanctions. 

As I mentioned earlier Legal Hold is very “big” in the US and Legal Hold notices and Court Orders are part of the regular routine. Furthermore, some eDiscovery solutions specifically cater for this process. In the UK, whilst there is no strict Legal Hold concept as such, there is preservation and it is normal, and indeed good practice, to put the other side on notice of anticipated proceedings and that they must not delete or destroy any potentially relevant data. Failure to abide by such a notice would be prejudicial to put it mildly. 

Here in SA, I see no legal reason whatsoever why our laws relating to spoliation should not apply to data and documents in an anticipated case or investigation. Does anyone use it? I do not know but for sure I advise my clients that they should give notice to the other side at the outset, with regard to preservation of data and documents, and I would be happy to argue, before a Judge, that failure to observe such notice should be sanctionable.

Now we move on to proportionality. Without doubt this aspect of civil litigation is led by the UK but is now gaining considerable traction in the USA as well as other parts of the world.  In the UK, proportionality is the “overriding objective” in Civil Procedure. It relates to the cost of the case and each side has to estimate its costs and present them to the Judge at the Case  Management Conference. The estimate is prepared and submitted by form Precedent H  and by the way the form is a signed Statement of Truth (same as an Affidavit, but not sworn, although none the less perjurious!)The costs estimate goes from identification and collection of data and documents through processing and analysis, discovery, review, trial preparation and production. You may ask what is the point of all this? Well, it is all about ensuring that the costs of dealing with the case are proportionate to the value and merits of the case itself. In essence, if you have a case in SA worth R1m then it would be disproportionate to spend R5m on trying to win it! Or, to be more precise if you did spend R5m and win, it would not be right that you should recover more costs than that which would be deemed appropriate to a claim worth R1m. We are, therefore, only referring to recoverable costs and not lawyer and own client costs. In the UK you certainly would not recover those excess costs and the Judge would make that crystal clear at the CMC and encourage either, smarter methods of collecting and reviewing the data, and/or entering into settlement negotiations! It is plain to see, therefore, that the use of eDiscovery technology and the overriding objective of proportionality go hand in hand. Imagine telling the Judge that you intend to look at every one of the 1m documents in a case at a total cost of R5m when by using the features and techniques of eDiscovery technology you only need to have “human eyes” on 100,000 of the 1m documents earn the cost would be less than half of the R5m forecast. What is the Judge to do? In the UK it would be simple, he would make an order that compels the use of the technology and at the same time make it clear that failure to do so would attract penalties as to costs. I wonder what our SA Judges would say or if they even have to consider the question of costs at directions or pre-trial hearings, as part of their remit? Going back to the estimates in UK Civil Procedure, I hear your brains working and thinking that you merely insert some sort of arbitrary figures and that is the end of it. After all, how does anyone know what will happen and what will be found as the case progresses so it would be easy to simply pass off the discrepancy with a “oh well, we found another server with truck loads of documents and 30 more custodians”. You could try that but it would not work. In practice you are “allowed” a small percentage leeway but if something happens which would take your budget well beyond your estimate, you must file a revised budget and if necessary “square it” with the Judge. I will simply add that in the UK, until 2013, the test of proportionality was known as the Lownds Test (following a case where one of the parties was named Lownds in an action against the Home Office) and after the Jackson Reforms in 2013 the new test of proportionality was covered with an amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules. As I have mentioned in a previous post, there is now a pilot scheme about to commence in the UK to change the Rules once again. There is no doubt at all that proportionality stays and the specific use of certain types of eDiscovery technology along with much greater collaboration between the parties, their lawyers and service providers will ensure its adherence. All of this is a huge topic and one which undoubtedly merits a post of its own ( N.B. contact me if you want a post on this topic or indeed any other), but at the moment I am merely trying to give SA a glimpse of how things are done elsewhere.

Wearing my SA hat, 4 things shout out to me on the question of proportionality:-

  1. Everyone, including the Courts should have a duty and responsibility to keep the costs of civil proceedings down
  2. eDiscovery plays a massive part in this and should be incorporated into our Uniform Rules as soon as possible.
  3. Judges must play a bigger role in case management, which would mean a greater understanding of eDiscovery technology and the importance of pre-trial directions  hearings should be escalated into Case Management Conferences. 
  4. Attorneys should “learn” to be more collaborative with their “opponents” as to the use of technology and costs

In conclusion, South Africa, if we are to be recognised, globally, as a stage for the resolution of disputes then we should begin to accept that words such as spoliation and proportionality need to form part of our daily vocabulary.


eDiscovery Blogs

eDiscovery in SA - Global eDiscovery happenings and in South Africa a new President!

First and foremost I offer my sincerest gratitude to all who read and support my blog, especially those from within SA. The news that my eDiscovery blog had found 54th place in the world was viewed by well over of 1000 of you. Thank you for reading and for all your comments and support.

There is a lot happening around the world on eDiscovery judging by the volume and variety of information which comes across my desktop on a daily basis, far too much to disseminate and provide worthwhile interest to my target market here in South Africa. However, it is always good to see a snapshot of what is happening elsewhere as a kind of precursor to what may, eventually, happen here.

Obviously, most of the information emanates from the USA which is not surprising given the size of the jurisdiction; the huge number of global corporations based there; the length of time that the USA has been involved in eDiscovery; the data sizes in USA in comparison to elsewhere; and of course to say nothing of the fact that the USA is undoubtedly the most ‘litigious” jurisdiction around! The Rules of Civil Procedure in the USA (FRCP) incorporate eDiscovery which regularly features in various Federal Rules Amendments on an almost annual basis. That said, individual States have their own interpretations and trends often driven by far sighted Judges. Interestingly, one of the best known of these, Judge Andrew J. Peck has very recently retired from the Bench and joined law firm DLA Piper in New York as Senior Counsel. That is interesting to those of us involved in eDiscovery because Judge Peck has been one of eDiscovery’s most influential figures for a number of years and I have been privileged to have heard him speak on a few occasions. I have thought many times since I moved to SA, “If only we had a Judge Peck”! The USA has a very large eDiscovery industry in that the vast majority of eDiscovery software is developed there; there are numerous providers and in house Litigation Support Managers and Depts; and of course, therefore, the most consolidations, acquisitions etc. One of my eDiscovery friends and colleagues in the UK, Jonathan Maas , alerted me recently to a merger between two large law firms, the US originated firm of Bryan Cave and UK’s Berwin Leighton & Paisner which creates another global giant. I know these firms from my time in the UK and worked with both on eDiscovery matters. The relevance to SA of mergers such as this is the general point that some firms are looking all the time at how to change or improve or grow and here, we have already seen a number of US and UK firms position themselves in SA or establish alliances. My specific interest from an SA eDiscovery aspect is that they are, often, already well versed in eDiscovery or have preferred providers from the US or UK.

Just because the USA is big and the industry is big does not mean that they are always right or even innovative. Some think that there can be a tendency to overcomplicate  or over engineer eDiscovery processes and practices in the US which leads to higher costs. Furthermore, other jurisdictions, the UK in particular, have led the way in certain aspects of eDiscovery and its Rules.

Turning to the UK, eDiscovery became part of the Rules of Civil Procedure a number of years ago but became much more focussed by Practice Direction 31(B) and my friend Chris Dale was part of the Working Party to draft that PD and its accompanying questionnaire, which finally hit us in 2010. Three years later came what we call the Jackson Reforms, which were primarily aimed at reducing costs. Now, the UK is about to bring about even further amendments involving eDiscovery as there is another Working Group who contend that the Reforms have not worked and that the whole aspect needs to be re-visited. Again, one of my UK contacts is part of that Group, Ed Crosse a Partner at Simmons & Simmons. There is much written on this subject but in simple terms, it seems to me that co-operation and collaboration will be much more to the fore, aligned with proportionality as the overriding objective. The changes are supported by the Judiciary and a 2 year pilot scheme will commence this year. Without doubt eDiscovery processes such as Technology Assisted Review (TAR) will play a greater role in appropriate cases, obviously as a result of decided cases around the world including UK, involving this process. The same has happened in Ireland which has eDiscovery incorporated into its Civil Procedure Rules but has a major decided case on the use of TAR which has prompted TAR to be the Court accepted and guided norm in suitable cases.

Elsewhere New Zealand continues to go from strength to strength as far as eDiscovery is concerned and, as I write, is holding its annual Lawfest at which eDiscovery related matters feature heavily. Much of what is happening in NZ including Lawfest is driven by my friend and co-eDiscovery blogger, Andrew King.  Australia has had eDiscovery for more than 10 years and jurisdictions such as Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore etc. have eDiscovery Rules. Regular readers will note that I rarely mention mainland European countries in the context of eDiscovery and that is simply because they do not embrace the concept of Discovery in civil litigation. It does not mean however that eDiscovery technology is not used in Europe as there are a large number of European matters whereby the technology is essential largely due to Data Protection issues and there are many installations of eDiscovery software or cloud based instances via various service providers throughout Europe. 

So, with all of this happening all over the world where the hell is South Africa and are we falling farther and farther behind? For example, as yet, we have not had a single case in SA involving TAR (despite the fact that I know of several which were large enough or of sufficient complexity to warrant it) whereas there is even a valid suggestion from the UK that in some cases TAR will not be enough .

Given that experts are telling us we are still to expect a “Data tsunami” which means even more electronic data it is blatantly obvious that SA really has to move forward sooner rather than later. In my post early in the year I wrote about very positive signs here and I certainly stand by that. However, I still see a lack of understanding on the part of many lawyers as to what eDiscovery is about and I worry that for some, even if they use the technology, they have insufficient belief or trust in the system and still end up reviewing in the old way, albeit on a platform instead of paper. I am also still seeing large volumes of electronic documents being printed for review which is so so wrong. There are things happening here with providers and law firms and, as I say, I stand by my prediction that 2018 will be an important year as far as eDiscovery is concerned but, in the end, it all boils down to the Rules. Everyone knows how hard I have worked for more than 2 years on having our Uniform Rules amended. It is now more than 14 months since I was invited to present to the High Court Committee of the Rules Board, yet not only have I heard nothing but my emails are ignored.  I really think, as a Government Dept, they should be accountable and have a duty, at the very least, to inform interested parties as to where we are. Maybe, SA Attorneys could write to their governing body, the LSSA, expressing their desire to see this change in our Rules quickly. I believe that the LSSA would faithfully relay that message to the Rules Board. 

What does all of this have to do with the fact that SA has a new President? Well I will tell you. For sure, he has many many priorities to which anyone who lives in SA can attest and I do not intend to list them here. That said, there are two things that his Government could do easily and quickly which would have an effect on the country’s economy and global standing. Firstly, is to bring about this Rules change to incorporate eDiscovery and secondly to ensure that POPIA is fully implemented this year. The combination of these two points would halt the drain of data from this country and would also create jobs in SA as well as attract investment. There you go, I should be President because I would do it…… not sure about all the other priorities though!


eDiscovery Blogs

eDiscovery in SA - Blog awarded Top 60 eDiscovery blog

This is the 55th blog post I have written on eDiscovery in SA since May 2015 and this post announces that my blog has just been awarded a place in the Top 60 global eDiscovery blogs by Feedspot. It is ranked 54th in the world at the moment and it is up to me (and you!) to keep it there or even progress it farther up the list. When I look at those blogs above mine, and I do regularly, as they come direct to my desktop, I see so many where the authors or companies are very well known to me and they are people for whom I have the highest regard. Some are personal friends and people with whom I have worked for many years like Chris Dale (whose blog on eDiscovery is the very best in my opinion!) and Andrew King in New Zealand who is doing fantastic work there. 

It is people such as Chris and Andrew who have inspired and motivated me to do all that I can to bring eDiscovery to SA. Furthermore, if one looks at the rest of the list many are much more internationally known and respected than I am and, frankly, I am thrilled to be in their company in the world of eDiscovery.  Understandably, more than 90% of the Top 60 eDiscovery blogs emanate from USA which makes it even more rewarding for the likes of Andrew and myself to sneak into this list. In Andrew’s case NZ is a small country (less than 5m population, I believe) and for Andrew to have his blog rated this high is a testament to what he has achieved in putting NZ on the global eDiscovery map. 

In my case, my blog is the only one in the Top 60 not only from SA but from any country described as a Third World or developing country. That makes me proud, not for me or my ego, but for the emerging industry of eDiscovery in SA.

Humble thanks to you all

eDiscovery Blogs