eDiscovery in SA - closing off 2018

As we enter that time of the year in SA when the country seems to close down for a few weeks it is good to look back and see how, or if, we have progressed as far as eDiscovery is concerned. In my first post of the year I asked if 2018 could be SA’s most important year so far in eDiscovery

I would say that it has been a success and many of the signs that I predicted have come to fruition. Of course the major disappointment is that we have seen and heard nothing from the Rules Board about the proposals to amend the Uniform Rules to incorporate eDiscovery - more on that later - and another related disappointment is that POPIA has not yet been implemented despite being passed in 2013 and promised for 2018! Hey ho - this is South Africa, where the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs!

eDiscovery in SA - Fantastic solution in SA for medico-legal and commercial fields

I have mentioned many times over the last 4 years that one of the greatest challenges here in SA is that so many good software solutions emanate from the US, UK or Australia with pricing in their currency which does not translate well into our economy. Imagine how my interest was sparked when I came into contact with a hardware and software solution which is actually developed here in SA and therefore priced for this market. This is a really really excellent solution with a variety of uses, including eDiscovery, and after all of my questions were answered I am left excited about where this can take us.

The product is called ColdCall - www.coldcall.cc/ - and in simple terms it records every telephone call made and received on the cell phone but also does a whole lot more. I recently met one of the founders of this solution, the eminent neurosurgeon Dr Adriaan Liebenberg who gave me all the details. Let us take a brief look at how it works in the fields of medicine, legal and the commercial world and then examine how it can aid eDiscovery. 

eDiscovery in SA - Cyanre/Lextrado staff end of year event

I was very happy to accept an invitation to attend this company end of year event, although my only qualification for doing so is simply because my wife Waseema works for Lextrado!

During my working life I have held and been invited to numerous such events so you may wonder why I am writing about this one. It held all of the usual content in terms of good food and drink, great venue, internal humorous awards and excellent company, but there was something extra. Not only were all of the staff of the two sister companies invited, but also their partners and children. The attention to detail in making it a wonderful event with so much aimed at the children was inspiring. Lots of activities including the hiring of a children’s entertainer and especially individual Xmas gifts to each child as well as to each staff member and family contributed to the atmosphere. 

eDiscovery in SA - Uniform Rules and Sections 14 & 15 ECTA 2002 are hopelessly out of date

When commenting on one of my latest updates, one of my longest standing industry friends, Jonathan Maas, wrote in his regular blog recently “….South Africa will be one of the last common law jurisdictions to begin developing legal procedure and jurisprudence in relation to eDiscovery….”. 

Sad state of affairs but very true and all of my readers know how much effort I have put into this over the last 3 years or more. I hope to have more news before the end of the year as I am the eternal optimist, but meanwhile I want to take another look at how discovery and/or eDiscovery is currently being handled in SA.

eDiscovery in SA - What is the relevance of BYOD to eDiscovery?

The short answer is quite a lot with the potential importance of a mobile device containing a “case winning” or “case losing” communication. However, before looking at that aspect I want to talk about the principe of BYOD itself. I should begin with the acronym, which does not mean, as one Sandton lawyer suggested when I was presenting eDiscovery to his firm, “Bring Your Own Drinks”. He was joking of course and we all know that it means Bring Your Own Device. Simply, it is a situation whereby an employee, with the permission of the employer, uses his or her own mobile device or devices for the purposes of the employers business and therefore has access to the company’s applications and information. It is commonplace in SA I have found.

eDiscovery in SA - Significant development on Discovery Rules change

Every country that has adopted eDiscovery into its civil procedure rules has found the support of a Judge or a number of Judges. Indeed in many jurisdictions, members of the judiciary have been drivers or extremely instrumental in the changes. We have not had that luxury or benefit here in SA, relying solely on committees or sub-committees within the Rules Board, which are, at best, part time people who meet infrequently.

eDiscovery in SA - 2018 review to date, Keywords, TAR, LPA, POPIA and all that jazz

There are law firms that have used eDiscovery technology in 2018 for the very first time. There are law firms that, in the past, have chosen not to show interest in eDiscovery technology but, this year, asked for presentations, so that they could “bring ourselves up to date” as one Director of a large law firm told me recently.

eDiscovery in SA - Basic guide to Technology Assisted Review for SA

TAR, or as some say, predictive coding is arguably the most important feature of eDiscovery technology. It has actually been around since 2010 but become more used as the years (and the technology) have progressed. Now in the UK, US and Ireland, that I know of, there have been decided cases advocating or ordering its use in appropriate cases. I also know it is used in other parts of the world but as yet it has not been used in SA to the best of my knowledge and belief. Perhaps that is not surprising given that we do not even have eDiscovery as part of our Uniform Rules but it does not mean that this fantastic technology cannot be used here right now if the case warrants it.