Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Transnational electronic data exchanges

slawOn September 21, I posted on Slaw a request for caselaw and articles discussing transnational electronic data exchanges for discovery/disclosure or in the business management context. Not surprisingly, up to now, it has received no answer.

In fact, to most people and country, this remains a useless topic of no interest. However, being the e-information geek that I am, how can I not wander, in a world of virtual data/documents, how to get e-information from a party or third person residing in a foreign country?

Nowaday, it is so easy for a multinational corporation or anyone, for that matter, to keep its records abroad. What legal means are left for the litigants?

What about corporations' management point of view: can a corporation freely send its employees/clients information abroad?

The Hague Convention on Taking Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters dates back to March 18, 1970. Its purpose was to reconcile different, ie conflicting, discovery procedures in different countries. The utilisation of a form "letter of request" sent directly by a court in a country to a foreign central authority, eliminating the diplomatic channel, was supposed to render discovery easier. The second means of pretrial discovery was the procedures set forth under Chapter II for the taking of evidence by diplomatic officers, consular agents, and commissioners. This method is essentially a voluntary discovery if the foreign state has given its permission.

Some of you will say that I am too much in the e-mail (quick and easy) generation but I cannot see myself going through the letter of request process, especially with the 180 days peremptory time delay the Legislator graciously offered to the Quebec litigators... Even if I would, I cannot help but think there must be an easier way to do this!

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