Barrister and Speaker

I am a barrister. I was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in November 1988.

BA (Hons) (History and Educational Philosophy), MA, LLM, PGCE (FE)

I am a recognised authority on electronic signatures and digital evidence, and have assisted governments in China, the Middle-East, Central America, and businesses in continental Europe and Africa, including the Corporation of London, the Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

I am licensed for Direct Public Access. I accept instructions from solicitors, law officers of governments, company secretaries and corporate counsel.

Speaking at the following forthcoming events:

With the Academy of European Law: Madrid, May 2017

‘Electronic evidence and computer forensics in criminal cases: an introduction’ and ‘How legal practitioners (prosecutors, defence lawyers and judges) deal with electronic evidence in criminal proceedings: an overview with sample cases where mobile devices are involved’

London June 2017:

‘Seizure, authenticity, proof of intent and evidence in court’

I am a Visiting Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Tartu, Estonia

I am a member of:

The IT Panel of the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales

The scientific committee of Tech and Law Center, a research center of the University of Insubria (Como)

Society for Advanced Legal Studies

I am an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, and I have acted as the external marker in postgraduate degrees dealing with digital evidence:

  1. Alex B. Makulilo, ‘Admissibility of computer evidence in Tanzania’, LLM, University of Oslo (2006)
  2. Thusitha Bernad Abeysekara, ‘A Proposal for the Protection of Digital Databases in Sri Lanka’, Doctor of Philosophy in Law, College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter (2013)
  3. Allison Rebecca Stanfield, ‘The Authentication of Electronic Evidence’, Doctor of Philosophy in Law, Law School, Queensland University of Technology (2015)
What I Do

I provide legal advice and speak at conferences, private events and provide high-level briefings in relation to my areas of knowledge at Board level

Recent Work

Council of Europe

I undertook a comparative study and analysis of existing national legal provisions that have been adopted or adapted on the effect of electronic evidence on the rules of evidence and modes of proof, with a focus on proceedings relating to civil law, administrative law and commercial law. The final report was presented to the 90th plenary meeting of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation that took place in Strasbourg on 28 October 2015.

Home Office

I am a member of the Home Office Expert Panel on Digital Signatures in the Acquisition of Communications Data within the Criminal Justice System. The Digital Signature Expert Panel has a mandate to develop a means of adding evidential force to the recording of the processes involved in authorizing, acquiring and disclosing communications data.

The purpose and background

The Communications Capabilities Development programme brings together work to ensure that, in a changing communications environment, communications data can continue to protect the public and save lives. The Evidential Communication Data theme has commissioned a project to implement the use of digital signatures in the lawful acquisition of communications data under the provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). The project has two key strands of activity that will provide for the digital signatures in the use of evidential communications data in the Criminal Justice System; evidencing a technical solution, and business change.

Aims

The subject matter experts are assisting in defining the technical and procedural requirements to enable the use of digitally signed communications data in evidence. In practice, the requirement of the Expert Panel is to assist with:

  1. A critical review of the technical specifications for the implementation of digital signatures through a specified set of acquisition methods including RDHI and Portals.
  2. Advising on the level of Information Assurance required in this context.
  3. Advising on the practical considerations for the implementation of digital signatures in the Criminal Justice System.
  4. Defining success criteria for each stage of implementation.
  5. Advising on the transition to operations and associated training requirements.

Commonwealth Secretariat

I have worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat on the International Cooperation Programme regarding the Interception of Telecommunications in the Harare Scheme and the Commonwealth Draft Model Legislation, with a view to developing a framework for the interception of telecommunications.

Digital leader

I established the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review in 2004, which brings articles, legal developments and case reports to academics, practitioners and the industry in relation to digital evidence and electronic signatures from across the world. It is the leading journal on the topic for judges, lawyers and scholars across the globe, and is now an open source journal.

I was invited by the National Notary Association of the United States of America to help draft the Model Notary Act (1 January 2010).

In 2009, I developed a module on the principles of digital investigations specific to civil proceedings for a course entitled ‘DIM 560 Digital Investigation Management’ for Champlain College Center for Digital Investigation, Burlington, United States of America, as part of the M.S. in Digital Investigation Management. This required determining the content of the course and identifying a number of experts to prepare various modules of the course.

I organized, in cooperation with MIS Training Institute, the first International conference on digital evidence held at the Vintners’ Hall, London 26 and 27 June 2008. The papers were published in the 2008 issue of the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review.

I prepared the digital evidence and electronic signatures part of the syllabus for the British Computer Society ISEB Certificate in IT Law Essentials course in 2006.

I was the first barrister to write a set of e-commerce precedents for lawyers on behalf of the Butterworths Tolley Electronic Business Law web site in 2000.

As far as I am aware, I was the first lawyer to write an e-book in 1999 on the Y2K issue (distributed on the cover CD ROMs of PC Magazine in May 1999 and PC Pro in July 1999 to 300,000 readers).

I have taken part in the following European Union projects:

  1. Admissibility of electronic evidence in court (AEEC) project
  2. European Certificate on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence (ECCE)
  3. e-Newsletter dealing with the topic of cybercrime (I was the editor responsible for Jurisprudence and Events)

Law reform

The IALS Think Tank on Law Reform adopted my proposal, entitled the Mason Report of the IALS Think Tank on the reform of the law concerning the presumption that mechanical instruments – in particular computers (now an out-of-date concept) are ‘in order’.

Fun

I have revised my Draft Regulation on Friday Afternoon Presents by extending the jurisdiction, given the events in the UK in 2016.

Disclaimer

The information and any commentary on the law contained on this web site is provided free of charge for information purpose only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. The information and any commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you need to obtain specific, personal advice about a case or matter, you are advised to approach a lawyer with suitable knowledge of the area of law that you need advice on, and not to rely on the information or comments on this web site.