The language of ediscovery

23 May 2014 by Daniel Kavan

At Kroll Ontrack, we have a policy to write the word ediscovery as ediscovery, not eDiscovery or e-discovery.

Although this was a policy invented far from here by our marketing gurus at our global headquarters in Minnesota, it is a policy I fundamentally agree with. Ediscovery is a common noun (or mass noun, to be exact), and a common technological function, just like email. We don’t write eMail. There is no justification in grammar in capitalising the second letter. Email is defined and written as email in the Oxford English Dictionary (and ranks as one of the top 1000 used words), and I predict that it’s just a matter of time until ediscovery is similarly defined there too.

The term ediscovery has its origins in electronic discovery, just like email has its origins in electronic mail. In the same way email is now used to do much more than send an electronic letter, ediscovery technologies and processes are used to do much more than manage the process of discovery in American litigation. At Kroll Ontrack in Europe we regularly apply ediscovery technologies and best practices to cases including regulatory investigations, internal investigations, arbitration matters and of course disclosure exercises in English disputes.

In England, we have been using the term disclosure instead of discovery since the Woolf reforms in 1999, to define the process of adverse parties sharing evidentiary documents in ligation matters pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). Because of this, edisclosure is often used to describe the disclosure of electronically stored information (ESI). I take no issue with the term edisclosure, and in fact it is used in the title and address of this blog, but I prefer generally to use the wider term ediscovery, even in the UK. Our ediscovery technologies and expertise can be applied far wider than to assist with disclosure of ESI. Whether it is an early case assessment in Durham, a discovery exercise in the Dublin, or an arbitration matter in Dubai, ediscovery can help.

For more information about how we are helping clients in EMEA with our ediscovery technology and expertise, please visit the new European version of our rather appropriately-named website,