Documents Danger Spelled out in Black and White

Article excerpt

Storing important documents off-site is no guarantee of their safety, according to a top legal firm.

Garretts says many Midlands businesses are finding that out to their cost and it highlights a recent fire at a Birmingham data storage warehouse which destroyed hundreds of thousands of boxes of documents.

Mr Raymond Joyce, head of the litigation team at the firm's Birmingham office, has already acted in court on behalf of a client who lost valuable documents in the fire and expects more companies to experience problems.

He said: "Ironically, in the age of the 'paperless office', many businesses still rely heavily on paper records. Some companies do scan documents into their computer system, although original documentation is still needed for certain transactions.

"This includes deeds establishing the ownership of land, guarantees, or signed contracts. In property transactions, for example, the law requires a sale contract to be made in writing and signed by or on behalf of buyer and seller.

"Original documents are also required in litigation cases. The courts have a very broad definition of 'documents' including photographs, films and computer disks. …