The Civil Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1997

This Order provides the legal basis for the use of documents and records of any format to be admissible as evidence in civil proceedings.

The Order

This includes electronic patient records.

Statements contained within documents may be admissible even where the original document has been lost and only a copy is available.

Documents that form part of a record are also admissible as long as the public authority supplies a signed certificate verifying the authenticity of the document.

Records management considerations

A public authority is making a legal statement by authenticating such documents and records, therefore the organisation must be sure of the quality and reliability of an electronic record. It will therefore be important to be able to verify that the computer was not misused and was operating properly at the time the record was produced. 

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