The UK government has begun researching the applications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in securing digital evidence as part of the nation’s court reform plans.

An HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) blog post by Balaji Anbil details the service’s conjointly held meeting with the Open Innovation team in which they discussed the use cases for DLT in protecting digital evidence. Specifically, Anbil said that they were looking into ways of applying the new technology in traditional legal procedures, such as during evidence sharing and identity management.

Dr. Sadek Ferdous, Technology Policy Fellow and Research Associate at Imperial College shared his expertise on public and private DLT systems. Ferdous pointed out that one of the challenges currently experienced is the difficulty in verifying the original source and history of digital evidence, and that this audit trail is a key component for future systems.

By providing a chronological record of when evidence has been accessed or modified and from what location, DLT could be utilized to ensure the integrity of evidence remains, Anbil writes in the post. ”This is clearly a critical capability” it reads.

HMCTS is serious about embracing and utilizing innovative technologies when it comes to securing digital data and have plans to discuss artificial intelligence, cloud security, and next-generation design in the future.

Blockchain in the Legal System

Earlier this month, Bitcoin News reported on legal technology expert Paul Sachs’ advocation for the use of blockchain in the legal system and court proceedings. The most significant contribution blockchain could make in legal proceedings, as Sachs sees, is the potential it has in transforming security and protecting evidence during a trial, much like the DLT research conducted by the HMCTS.

Sachs referenced the UK courts’ GBP 1 billion modernization effort partially focused on digitizing processes to increase work efficiency that Anbil’s research applies to.

It would appear that the UK government is doing its due diligence and listening to the experts.

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