Email is a useful tool in litigation, and almost all professional representatives use it constantly. If you are a claimant you should consider using email for running your case.

The advantage is speed and convenience of communication. There is nothing you can do with email that you can’t do by post, just a bit more slowly. You can email the other side and the tribunal. The other side will probably email back, although the tribunals still tend to stick to letters. If you have instructed a representative email will be a useful way of keeping in touch with them.

But if you’re not already a regular user of email, it can create difficulties. Because email is so fast, people tend to expect replies to emails within minutes or hours rather than days or weeks. If you put an email address on your ET1 or use email to send messages, people will expect to be able to reach you by email. If you don’t check your email for several weeks – or even several days – the sender will think you are ignoring him. This will create frustration and confusion.

It is better not to have an email address at all unless you check it several times a week.

If you decide to set up an account, the simplest method is to use an online webmail service. If you are a computing snob, the best is probably Google Mail, but Yahoo and Hotmail offer similar services.

People sometimes worry about whether email is secure enough for confidential communications. Sending information over the internet and storing it on computers does raise questions about security. But there’s no reason to be more anxious about computer and internet security than the security of your telephone, fax and postal communications. If you’re worried about that, then either you’re paranoid or they really are out to get you; in the latter case you probably need some specialist security advice, not restricted to computer matters.

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