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Are scanned documents valid in court?

by Neetika Khanna 20 November, 2015
legal-admissibility

The advantages of going paper-lite if not paperless are well recognised by organisations across UK and hence digitisation tops the priority list especially for public sector where Jeremy Hunt has set the "Paperless by 2018" goal. Also huge investment is being made to digitise court proceedings where about 160 million sheets of paper are being used every year.

However, even lead adopters of digital technology remain sceptical about legal vailidity of scanned documents and hence maintain a paralllel paper trail. Can scanned documents be used as proof in court? It's a question a lot of our customers ask before they embark on a scanning and digitisation project. The answer is yes with a caveat that you should be able to prove that the documents you are presenting to authorities are digital copies of originals and have not been tampered with after creation.

British standard BS 10008 details the guidelines for implementing document scanning and capture systems in a way that ensures legal admissibility of scanned documents. It also covers guidelines for documents which originate as digital documents. The standard specifies requirements for implementation and operation of electronic information management systems, including storage and transfer of information. It covers:

  • Management and availability of electronic information
  • Digital transfer of information
  • Linking of electronic identity to particluar electronic information such as electronic signatures etc.

If you are looking to digitise your paper processes it's definetly worth considering these guidelines or using them as a check list while selecting your supplier or defining paper based process policies.

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