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3 L. Computer & Artificial Intell. 3 (1994)

handle is hein.journals/infctel3 and id is 1 raw text is: Law, Computers & Artificial Intelligence, Volume 3, Number 1, 1994

Computer Statements in
English Civil Proceedings
MICHAL HIRST
University of Wales, United Kingdom
ABSTRACT In September 1993, the Law Commission published a report on
the possible abolition of the rule against hearsay, in so far as it applies in the
civil courts. The Commission's proposals are sweeping and, if implemented,
would have a profound effect on the use of computer records and other
computer-generated evidence in civil proceedings governed by English Law.
This article attempts to explain and evaluate the proposals in so far as they
concern computer evidence, and draws comparisons between the present
position and that which would exist under the proposed new regime.
Introduction
The Law Commission for England and Wales has recently published a
report entitled The Hearsay Rule in Civil Proceedings. (1] This will be of
considerable Interest to anyone who is concerned with the use of
computers or computer-derived data for evidential purposes, since the
rule against hearsay, and legislation connected with it, still Inhibit.the use
of such evidence In many situations where English law applies.
The Law Commission Proposals
The central recommendations of the report are that evidence should no
longer be subject to exclusion in civil proceedings on the ground that it is
hearsay, but that parties Intending to rely on hearsay evidence should be
under a duty to give notice of their Intent to any other parties to the
proceedings. Failure to give such notice might give rise to sanctions in
terms of costs, but should not result In the exclusion of the evidence
concerned.12J
It is further proposed that business documents and records,
including those stored upon or processed by computers, should in future
be admissible as hearsay (sic) on much the same basis as any other
documents, and that no special rules should be made as to the
admissibility or proof of computerised records. Proof that a given

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