Language barriers can easily be eliminated with the help of professional legal translation and interpreting services. One area of international law ripe with potential for cultural clashes is the developing field of e-discovery. For example, when navigating between e-discovery laws in the United States and the European Union, clients are often stuck ‘between a rock and a hard place’ when attempting to manage the risks of transferring personal data in international litigation.
For starters, the very definition of what personal data is differs significantly between countries. Further, common law countries have differing notions of privacy and discovery than their civil law counterparts. For example, the EU has specific data protection and privacy regulations, and many of the individual member states have blocking statutes that restrict cross-border transfers of data relating to foreign litigation.
Unlike the US, many EU countries view personal data privacy as a fundamental human right. As a result, US litigants will often experience frustration in dealing with discovery. Although the US Supreme Court has enforced US style discovery even where a blocking statute applies, the complexity in enforcing such a judgment in the EU is difficult – and even more so when you add the complexities of foreign language translations of all judgments and motions.
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