Electronic Records and the Law of Evidence in Canada: The Uniform Electronic Evidence Act Twelve Years Later

  • Luciana Duranti
  • Corinne Rogers
  • Anthony Sheppard


This article analyzes the adequacy of the Uniform Electronic Evidence Act, twelve years after its adoption, in dealing with the complexity of the records created, used, or stored in the digital environment. In the face of rapidly changing technology, the authors believe that the nature and characteristics of electronic records cannot be accounted for by simple modifications to the existing law of evidence, but require a new enactment following upon a close collaboration among records professions, legal and law enforcement professions, and the information technology profession. The new rules, comprehensively encompassing issues of relevance, admissibility, and weight of electronic documentary evidence, must be based on the body of knowledge of each profession, on the findings of interdisciplinary research, and on existing records-related standards. The enactment of such rules would help the courts make accurate findings of fact, based on electronic records that are created in a reliable environment and preserved in an authentic form for as long as they might be needed, and would alleviate ongoing confusion about the admissibility and use of electronic records in litigation.


Cet article analyse la pertinence du Uniform Electronic Evidence Act, douze ans après son adoption, pour traiter de la complexité des documents créés, consultés ou conservés dans un environnement numérique. Face aux changements rapides dans le domaine de la technologie, les auteurs croient qu’on ne peut pas tenir compte de la nature et des caractéristiques des documents numériques en effectuant de simples modifications à la loi existante, mais qu’on doit faire promulguer une nouvelle législation qui tiendra compte de la collaboration étroite entre les professionnels qui travaillent dans les domaines des documents d’archives, du droit et du respect de la loi, et des technologies de l’information. Les nouveaux règlements, couvrant l’ensemble des questions liées à la pertinence, l’admissibilité et le poids de la preuve documentaire électronique, devront être basés à la fois sur le corpus du savoir de chaque profession, les résultats de la recherche interdisciplinaire et les normes existantes par rapport aux documents d’archives. La promulgation de tels règlements aiderait les tribunaux à tirer des conclusions exactes, basées sur des documents numériques créés dans des environnements fiables et conservés sous forme authentique aussi longtemps que nécessaire, ce qui amoindrirait la confusion continue au sujet de l’admissibilité et de l’usage des documents numériques dans les procès.

Author Biographies

Luciana Duranti

Luciana Duranti currently holds the position of Chair, Master of Archival Studies, School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia. She is a professor of archival theory, diplomatics, and the management of digital records in both its master’s and doctoral archival programs. Dr. Duranti is presently Project Director of InterPARES (1999–2012), the largest research project on the long-term preservation of authentic electronic records; principal investigator in a research project entitled Digital Records Forensics (2008–2011); and co-investigator in a research project examining issues of copyright and long-term preservation in the context of universities’ institutional digital repositories (2009–2011). She is developing digital records guidelines for the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register and education modules for trusted digital records professionals for the International Council on Archives. She is active nation-ally and internationally in several archival associations, and on boards and committees, such as Italy’s National Commission for Archives (2007–2013) and UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Program (2007–2013). She is a former (1998–1999) president of the Society of American Archivists, of which she is a Fellow. She publishes wide-ly on archival history and theory, and on diplomatics.

Corinne Rogers

Corinne Rogers is a doctoral student at the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia. She holds an MA in Musicology from the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Archival Studies from UBC. Corinne is a graduate research assistant on InterPARES 3 and the Digital Records Forensics Project.

Anthony Sheppard

Anthony Sheppard (BA, University of British Columbia [1964]; LLB, University of British Columbia [1967]; LLM, London School of Economics [1968]) is professor in the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia. Professor Sheppard articled in 1968–1969, and was called to the Bar of BC in 1969. He joined the faculty in 1969. His current teaching and research interests include real property, equitable remedies, evidence, and taxation. He has practised as a tax lawyer and a prosecutor. From 1979 to 1984, he was a member of the Law Reform Commission of BC and reporter for the Federal/ Provincial Task Force on Uniform Rules of Evidence. Professor Sheppard is Co-investigator on the Digital Records Forensics Project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

How to Cite
Duranti, Luciana, Corinne Rogers, and Anthony Sheppard. 2010. “Electronic Records and the Law of Evidence in Canada: The Uniform Electronic Evidence Act Twelve Years Later”. Archivaria 70 (October), 95-124. https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13296.