Use of computerised records in evidence

March 2011

Part 5 Use of computerised records in evidence

66.46 Use in Civil Proceedings

The Civil Evidence Act 1995 states that a document which is shown to be part of the records of a business may be received in evidence in civil proceedings without further proof. A copy of the document is admissible, irrespective of the fact that it may be a copy of a copy of an original. This enables the image or the printout to be used in civil proceedings [Note 1] [Note 2]. See also Chapter 47, paragraphs 47.7 to 47.9 for further information on the disclosure of evidence in relation to civil proceedings.


66.47 Use of computerised records in criminal proceedings

The level of proof in criminal proceedings is higher than in civil proceedings. A statement in a document is admissible evidence if it forms part of a record compiled from information supplied by someone who had personal knowledge of the matters dealt with in that information.

The restrictions imposed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984  on the use of computer evidence, and the requirement that,  for a record or document to be admitted at court in criminal proceedings, proof had to be provided to the court that at the relevant time the computer was working accurately,  have all now been repealed.  This means the court will accept computer evidence and will assume the relevant computer was operating correctly and was in order at the material time,  unless proof is provided to the contrary.


66.48 FCU to provide a witness

In the event that it is necessary, FCU will provide a member of staff to act as a witness in court to testify how the image of the computerised accounting records was taken and a copy of the FCU log can be exhibited (see also paragraphs 66.26 and 66.27).

Further information concerning the use of accounting records in evidence and accounting records offences can be found in the IES Enforcement Guide at Chapter 42 (companies) and Chapter 64 (bankruptcies).


[Back to Part 4 - Storage and protection of computerised media and accessing imaged copies] [On to Part 6 -  Destruction of computer equipment and imaged copy media]