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BIP 0008-1:2008

Evidential weight and legal admissibility of information stored electronically. Code of Practice for the implementation of BS 10008

What is BIP 0008-1:2008?

It’s important that organizations realise the value of the information they store and to act under the "duty of care" principle. This relates to data processing, data management and the electronic storage of documents. BIP 0008-1 gives practical guidance on information management, data security and legal procedures. The code of practice is based on BS 10008 – Evidential weight and legal admissibility of electronic information – and can therefore be used as a guide to implement the British Standard.

How does it work?

BIP 0008-1 first looks at information management planning and covers various topics within this chapter, including risk assessment, information security policies as well as documentation and records. It also explains best practice methods of data capture and handling, version control and different storage systems that can be used. BIP 0008-1 concludes with audit requirements, planning and procedures, as well as preventive and corrective actions and continual improvement.

Who should implement it?

  • Anyone responsible for data processing, data handling and data storage
  • Organizations and enterprises that store electronic information
  • Quality assessors
  • Managers
  • Regulatory bodies

Why use an external training provider?

We are independent and we’re a trusted service provider to many UK businesses.

Relevance when document scanning?

One of the key issues affecting a company’s decision to scan and digitally archive documents is whether the images can be used as evidence later. It is also a factor as to whether original documents can be destroyed or need to be kept in deep storage. “If a document is admissible in evidence, then an electronic image of that document may be treated as secondary evidence in the same manner as a photocopy or a microfiche image. It will be subject to the provisions regarding authentication contained in the Civil Evidence Act (1995) in England and Wales and the Civil Evidence Act (Scotland) 1988 in Scotland.”

This is the statement made by Companies House and relates to the way in which their information may be used as evidence. But what does it mean and what are the implications for the use of other scanned or microfilmed information in Court or in any other form of judgement.

The British Standards Institution has issued a revised Code of Practice for Legal Admissibility of Information Stored on Electronic Document Management Systems, BIP 0008-1:2008 (previously PD 0008). This code of practice provides guidance to ensure, as far as possible, that electronic documents and scanned images will be accepted as evidence by the courts. The key to this guidance is that the process under which documents are managed is as important as the technology used – where a document is reproduced (e.g. printed), it should accurately reproduce the contents of the "original".

The key principles behind BIP 0008 are:

  • Authenticity – Processes to be followed at system planning, implementation and the procedures by which the systems should be operated.
  • Storage and access procedures – Procedures including scanning, indexing, retrieval, system administration, archiving, off-site storage and training, to be followed.
  • Demonstrability of adherence – A structured audit process resulting in a Certificate of Conformity that displays demonstrability of adherence.

The Civil Evidence Act (1995) introduces a flexible system whereby all documents and copy documents, including computer records, can be admitted as evidence in civil proceedings. The court judge will still have to be persuaded to treat that evidence as reliable, and so organisations will have to put in place procedures to prove the authenticity and reliability of the record.

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