Digital Courts, the Law and Evidence

Robert Slade, Vancouver Institute for Research into User Security, Canada


Legal Systems

Differences within Common Law


Digital Court


Types of Evidence

Rules of Evidence

Providing Expert Testimony



Black Hat Motivations as a Defense



Cross References

Further Reading


Computer and system security professionals traditionally deal with issues of technology, but may be called upon to investigate when security is breached and to support forensic investigations and legal proceedings. Conversely, members of the legal profession are increasingly called upon to bring cases based upon, and present in court, information obtained from computer, network, and other technical systems.

To both groups, let me point out that this chapter is an overview and not an encyclopedia itself. Subfields of forensic science can produce very fat books, and the law produces entire libraries. Technical experts are not going to find details of file system internals here, nor are lawyers going to find case law.


In dealing with legal issues, we have an immediate problem in that different countries not only have distinct laws but possibly even diverse legal systems. There are different approaches to what constitutes law and legal proceedings, and these will have an impact in regard to what constitutes evidence permissible in court.

Those from Britain, the Commonwealth countries, and ...

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