Stephen Mason is a barrister, an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, and a member of the IT Panel of the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales. He is the author of Electronic Signatures in Law (3rd edn, Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Electronic Banking: Protecting Your Rights (PP Publishing, 2012); and the general editor of Electronic Evidence (3rd edn, LexisNexis Butterworths, 2012) covering 11 common law jurisdictions and now including the European Union, and International Electronic Evidence (British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2008) covering 36 civil law jurisdictions. He is also the founder, general editor and publisher of the international journal Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review http://journals.sas.ac.uk/deeslr, now in its tenth year, and which has become an international focal point for researchers in the area. He has conducted training in electronic evidence for judges and lawyers at the request of universities, legal professional organizations, Ministries of Justice and the Academy of European Law in Australia, India, throughout the European Union, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Stephen has acted as the external marker in postgraduate degrees dealing with electronic evidence: LLM at the University of Oslo (2006), Ph.D. at the University of Exeter (2013); Ph.D. at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (pending).
A Convention on Electronic Evidence
Evidence in electronic format has become a normal part of life in legal proceedings across the world. Regardless of what the purpose of justice might be considered to be in any given jurisdiction, the judicial process ought to provide fairness to those taking part in the proceedings. This should include the requirement that the judge and lawyers ought to be competent when dealing with and assessing evidence in electronic format.<br />Also, people responsible for admitting applicants to become lawyers have a duty to ensure that the future lawyer is in possession of the relevant qualifications, skills and knowledge considered necessary to enable them to provide competent advice to lay clients. This duty is extended to those people who rely on lawyers for legal advice.<br />In order to facilitate the better understanding of electronic evidence, especially as electronic evidence crosses jurisdictional boundaries, it is considered that a Convention on Electronic Evidence will promote the need for those responsible for justice across the globe to consider the importance of the topic. This is a talk about the first draft of such a Convention. It is open to public comments and additions.