by Julia Romero Peter, Esq.
Companies and counsel engaging in litigation in the U.K. should be aware that the U.K. revised their Rules of Civil Procedure (CPR), including ediscovery (known as edisclosure in the U.K.) provisions, effective April 1, 2013. One of the objectives of the revised CPR includes proportionality with respect to costs. To that end, the revised CPR imposes several requirements on parties at the outset of a case. These include submission of budgets and disclosure reports.
Submitting a Budget
At the start of a case, the parties must submit budgets projecting ediscovery and other litigation costs. As the case progresses, the court will keep track of costs incurred so that they stay proportionate. In this effort, the court may issue a costs management order to manage the budgets. Also, a party may recoup only the costs that it included in its budget.
Submitting a Disclosure Report
Parties also must file disclosure reports at the outset of a case. The reports must include a description of (i) potentially relevant documents, (ii) their location and custodians, (iii) how ESI is stored, (iii) ediscovery costs, including costs related to searching and production and (iv) the scope and procedural options selected by each of the parties. Subparagraphs 7 and 8 of Rule 31.5, respectively, sets forth these options. In light of the “need to limit disclosure to that which is necessary to deal with the case justly,” the court may make an order within a gambit of discovery including none, to issue by issue, to standard, to one “that the court considers appropriate.”
With respect to the manner of discovery, among other options; the court may direct “what searches are to be undertaken,” including for ESI; the production format; and whether there will be rolling productions.
Why You May Need a Trusted Litigation Support Partner
In summary, because parties are now required to submit budgets and disclosure reports at the outset of a case; counsel will need to make a number of determinations very early on, including:
- the universe of potentially relevant documents, their location and custodians and the manner in which ESI is stored;
- the desired discovery scope and procedure; and
- whether to insource or outsource, keeping in mind the related costs.
Engaging a managed services partner may be key to meeting these early requirements. Because a managed services provider oversees discovery cases every day, it has the acquired knowledge, including metrics, necessary to provide just the type of cost information required by the new U.K. budget and disclosure reports. Moreover, a managed services partner leverages this knowledge to create cost-efficient workflows and cost and productivity reports. After all, with high-stakes litigation why venture into less than familiar ediscovery territory when a managed-services partner already has mapped out and mastered it.