Recommendations for the probity of computer evidence

  • Paul Marshall
  • James Christie
  • Peter Bernard Ladkin
  • Bev Littlewood
  • Stephen Mason
  • Martin Newby
  • Jonathan Rogers
  • Harold Thimbleby
  • Martyn Thomas CBE


There exists widespread misunderstanding about the nature of computers and how and why they are liable to fail. The present approach to the disclosure or discovery and evaluation of evidence produced by computers in legal proceedings is unsatisfactory. The central problem is the evidential presumption that computers are reliable. This presumption is not warranted. To this end, recommendations are proposed to rectify this problem with the aim of increasing the probability of a fair trial.

Index words: electronic evidence; computer systems; disclosure; discovery; recommendations for judges; fairness of legal proceedings