Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Ken Chasse


records management, electronic records management systems (ERMS)


‘‘Records management law” will be a necessary area of specialization because: (1) electronic records are now produced by most commercial, communication, transmission of data, and social, formal, and semi-formal interactions; (2) therefore they are the foundation of many kinds of legislation; (3) records are the most frequently used kind of evidence in legal proceedings; and, (4) electronic records are as important to daily living as are motor vehicles, and will become more important. But the legal infrastructure of statutes, guidelines, and case law that controls the use of electronic records as evidence is very inadequate because it ignores these facts: (1) electronic records technology and pre-electronic paper records technology are very different technologies—each requires its own legal infrastructure; (2) there are many serious defects frequently found in electronic records management systems (ERMSs), and in their software; (3) there is an electronic records ‘‘system integrity” concept that has to be in the evidence laws; (4) the national and international standards for electronic records management need to provide definitions and the principles of ERMS practice necessary for the effective operation of that concept; and (5) the solution to the high cost of the ‘‘review” stage of electronic discovery proceedings requires a different strategy and procedure than what are used now. Because of these shortcomings and society’s heavy dependence upon electronic records, ‘‘records management law” is a needed specialty, and the ‘‘records management lawyer” a needed specialist. The several innovations, concepts, and arguments developed in this article have been made possible by what I have learned from working with experts in electronic records management for many years. Such innovations are needed to make all litigation available at a reasonable cost.