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Duncan Basheer Hannon

- 23 Oct 2015
  • Uncategorised

Are emails, text messages and social media posts evidence in a Court case?

Woman sitting at an outdoor table with a laptop computer

In legal disputes, electronic communications are often a record of what was said.

Electronic communications – emails, text messages and social media posts – are routinely used by many of us to communicate with each other, both for personal and business purposes.

The question is often asked whether these electronic communications can be printed and made evidence before the Court in the same way that contracts, letters or other business records can be. To date the answer has been “maybe” and there have been significant technical requirements relating to the proof of the authenticity of electronic communications. This is far from satisfactory for a very common method of communicating.

This will all change in South Australia when the South Australian Government passes amendments to the Evidence Act 1929 to modernise South Australia’s evidence laws and make it easier to use electronic communications as evidence.

In legal terms, these changes will facilitate the proof and admission of electronic communications and computer generated evidence. Parties to litigation will be able to produce both the electronic and printed form of these communications. The Courts will still have the power to decline to admit electronic communications if they consider that they are unfair, prejudicial or unreliable.

In summary, the law is catching up with 21st century everyday communications.

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