Electronic Technology and Civil Procedure

Volume 15 of the series Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice pp 29-48


The Impact of Digital Information on American Evidence-Gathering and Trial – The Straw That Breaks the Camel’s Back?

  • Richard L. MarcusAffiliated withHastings College of the Law, University of California Email author 

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Like everything else, the Computer Age has changed civil litigation in the U.S. The broad discovery allowed in American courts has become even broader as they have confronted Electronic Discovery. To date, it has been handled within the existing framework for American discovery, with some special tailoring of provisions for the specific problems it presents. Electronic communications are affecting the organization of American law firms, however, with offshoring of legal work gaining prominence. The handling of trials has begun to change as well, both because of problems regarding the admissibility of digital information as evidence and because electronic presentations have begun to affect the mode of trial. Although there has been change, there is also continuity; the American system of civil justice will still be “exceptional” after these changes are absorbed.