E-litigation—litigation that is either paperless or virtual—is the way of the future. This was already becoming true when we conducted the first paperless trial in the history of the construction courts in Toronto in early 2020, and it is even more apparent during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the world finds itself in.
Choosing to conduct e-litigation provides the parties involved with access to functionality which is not available in traditional, paper-based processes. If correctly planned for, volumes of bankers boxes can be reduced to one USB key, zip folder or drop-box, eliminating the time and expense of producing and riffling through paper materials, and hearings, examinations or mediations can be conducted with multiple parties in different rooms, or cities. The flexibility provided for by the electronic storage of materials and the ability to prepare witnesses from afar can support both effective and cost efficient hearings if properly planned for at the outset. It may also improve access to justice on the whole.
This paper can help. We will go over some best practices for creating an electronic record that contains all the materials required for your mediation, arbitration, or hearing. This electronic record can easily be transferred to the other parties or to the trier in a paperless or virtual proceeding. We will also discuss strategies for using video-conferencing and screen-sharing platforms to prepare witnesses and to conduct virtual litigation.
This paper proceeds in five parts: A) The Basics, B) Software & Hardware Requirements, C) An E-Litigation Protocol, D) Hyperlinking, and E) Expanded Options for Examining Witnesses.