Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Ken Chasse


evidentiary law of business records


The new electronic record provisions that are now part of almost all of the Evidence Acts in Canada are as important as any statutory law or common law concerning the use of records as evidence. They bring six important improvements to the evidentiary law of business records. It is argued, however, that their most serious defects are that they: (1) perpetuate the best evidence rule — a rule rendered redundant by electronic records and information management (RIM); (2) do not deal with hearsay issues; (3) do not cure the defects of the business record provisions in regard to electronic records; and (4) unnecessarily complicate the law. But these defects can be substantially lessened by judicial interpretation that accomplishes what the business records provisions should have accomplished. Although a topic left to a future article, this article should be read with the assumption that the electronic record provisions are interdependent with: (1) the new electronic commerce laws; (2) the new personal privacy protection laws; (3) the new electronic discovery guidelines; (4) the new National Standards of Canada concerning electronic RIM ; and (5) the records requirements of government agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency. This article is therefore a first step in justifying the emergence of the ‘‘RIM lawyer’’ as a new field of legal practice.