An increasing number of IT professionals are being used in court as expert witnesses as more digital documents are required by courts.
According to research from legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell there has been a marked increase in the number of accredited IT firms that offer expert witness services.
Today there is an average of 34 IT firms offering expert witness services in each area of IT expertise, compared with just 23 in 2004.
Breakdown of specialist areas and number of firms offering services:
computer records falsification -19 in 2004, 33 in 2009 (74% increase),
computer-generated information as evidence - 22 in 2004, 34 in 2009 (55% increase)
computer records as evidence - 24 in 2004, 36 in 2009 (50% increase).
"The demands of the e-disclosure process mean that IT experts are being brought into proceedings very early on. Their role in deciding the legitimacy of evidence and whether it has been doctored is hugely important," said Anne Kemsley at Sweet & Maxwell.
"Doubts over the accuracy of a piece of computer evidence can result in it being rejected by the court. This can potentially have a serious impact on a case if the evidence is central to one of the arguments being made," she said.