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Digital documents: use in proceedings and issues of manipulation – how to spot it, how to deal with it

Date:27 APR 2020
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Helen Brander Pump Court Chambers

In a world where the contents of documents are relied upon to prove assertions where documents can amount to evidence in their own right and where the documents frequently come into people’s hands via digital means should we trust that they are genuine? Can digital documents be manipulated? If so how? Does it happen? How frequently? Why would people do this? What impact can it have on the outcome of proceedings? What can and should be done about this? How robust are courts and judges at dealing with instances of document manipulation? How robust should they be?  

In this article Helen Brander a barrister at Pump Court Chambers attempts to answer these questions. She provides examples of document manipulation techniques discusses genuine incidents of document manipulation and offers advice on what to consider and what directions or orders to seek when faced with a client who asserts that documents are or are not genuine or otherwise questions arise regarding the authenticity of documents.

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