Legal Issues

Document retention legal implications

Perhaps the most frequently asked question for any document scanning company is whether a scanned copy is legally admissible in a Court of Law. The answer is Yes, it is legally admissible as long as the process of scanning has been conducted in accordance with the relevant British Standard. And this is the point at which any discerning organisation looking to outsource their document scanning requirements should actively search for a reputable provider and do appropriate due diligence. AaRMS operate in a transparent and auditable way, and have grown the business through the development of an excellent reputation.

British Standard (BIP 0008) provides the process steps and guidelines to be adhered to when scanning paper records, with the aim to ultimately create legally admissible electronic records. Within certain sectors there are regulatory bodies that issue guidance on industry specific document retention periods. For most organisations,  standard commercial business records have a retention period of 6 years plus the current year in order to adhere to VAT inspection regulations.  HM Revenue and Customs provide guidance for organisations to follow.

Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and investment companies  are governed by the Financial Services Authority, and the Law Society provides guidance for Law Firms. Specific document retention schedules also exist within the Medical, Pharmaceutical, Nuclear and Defence sectors.

AaRMS has implemented document handling and document scanning procedures in accordance with the principles of BIP 0008. Using industry leading scanner hardware and capture software, the images produced by our document scanning teams are dated stamped and in a format which cannot be altered. An audit trail is produced at every step of the document capture process right through to the production of a Certificate of Destruction once the paperwork has been securely shredded. This audit trail is imperative for the end user to demonstrate that their documents have been processed in accordance with the necessary British Standard, and that the digital image is now classed as the original and carries evidential weight.

 

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