Lawyers can forget their fax

Many people under forty will never have sent a fax.  However, if you are a modern-day Scottish lawyer, you probably will have.  Fax machines peaked in popularity in the late 1980s.  Back then, they revolutionised business correspondence.

The reason faxes persist today in the legal community is that fax remains the one digital method, sanctioned by the courts, of sending certain confidential legal documents securely and reliably to counter-parties and to the court itself.

With the current lockdown this method of communication has proved impractical. The Corona Virus (Scotland) Act 2020 was passed in April.  Schedule 4 provides for e-mail to be used to transfer documents. 

But in the 21st century is e-mail really the optimum way for lawyers to share confidential information?  Have the security issues of using e-mail been fully considered and assessed?

Will it persist post-lock down as part of the ‘new normal’?  Have other, more modern, options that better facilitate secure data sharing been considered and assessed?

A viable modern option is the use of distributed ledger technology.  This allows cross organisational processes to be defined and adhered to such that the participants can be confident that the agreed rules are being followed and that only the minimum relevant data is being exposed to counter parties.     

Achieving such a solution would require digital trust frameworks to be established between the participants in the Scottish legal community.  This might be best achieved by the Law Society of Scotland working with solicitors and the courts to define the appropriate data sharing processes.

Such frameworks provide processes that cannot be subverted as well as the means to regulate and ensure compliance.  

 A digital trust framework requires a platform.  Wallet.Services’ SICCAR distributed ledger technology (DLT) provides such a platform.  SICCAR (old Scots for sure and trusted) regulates digital trust frameworks to ensure compliance in the handling of citizens’ data.  

 It has been tested and approved within the Scottish public sector and is ready to be deployed. It is the key to unlocking the many benefits of a truly digital society.  One of our customers, Paul Dymock, Head of Innovation, at the Student Awards Agency Scotland, said:

“Siccar could be a real game changer for sharing vital evidence of circumstances and eligibility criteria to unlock access to public services and vital support in a discreet, secure, and citizen controlled way. It has the potential to introduce huge efficiencies by connecting services and citizens.”

Paul Dymock

Head of Innovation, Student Awards Agency Scotland