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Document Management Protocol

  • General
Publication date

Document Management Protocol

1.   Purpose of this Protocol

  • 1.1   This Protocol sets out the means and format in which electronic documents are to be produced to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (the Royal Commission).
  • 1.2   This Protocol should be read in conjunction with Practice Guideline 1, which is available on the Royal Commission’s website at: https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/.
  • 1.3   Where the Royal Commission thinks it appropriate, this Protocol may be varied, changed or replaced at any time.
  • 1.4   Pursuant to this Protocol, a person is expected not to convert electronic documents to hard copy for the purposes of providing documents to the Royal Commission. A person is expected to convert hard copy documents to electronic form for the purposes of production to the Royal Commission in accordance with this Protocol.
  • 1.5   The Royal Commission will accept electronic documents in Ringtail (.mdb) format, as outlined in Schedule 1.

General Principles

2.   Identification of documents

  • 2.1   Document IDs and page numbers will be unique to each page and will be the primary means by which documents will be referenced. All document IDs and page numbers are to be stamped in the top right hand corner of each page.
  • 2.2   A person will identify documents for the purpose of production using unique Document Identifiers (Document ID). A Document ID will be in the following format:
    • (a)   PPP.BBB.FFF.NNNN_XXXX where:
      • (1)   PPP is a three letter party code that identifies a person’s documents. A person producing documents should contact the Royal Commission prior to production to confirm the party codes available for use.

        Party Code

        Party

        ABC

        AB Corporation Pty Ltd (Party A)

        LCA

        Local Community Association Inc. (Party A)

        XYH

        XY Holdings Pty Ltd (Party C)

      • (2)   BBB is a 3-digit number identifying separate collections of documents (for example in relation to a particular Notice to Give or Notice to Produce), the number to be between 001 – 999. FFF is a 3-digit number identifying further separate collections of documents, the number to be between 001 – 999.
      • (3)   NNNN is a 4-digit number used to differentiate individual documents and/or individual pages. In some cases, NNNN operates as a document number rather than a page number because individual pages are not numbered (ie non-standard Native files not produced as searchable PDFs). This number is padded with zeros to consistently result in a 4 digit structure.
      • (4)   XXXX is an optional 4-digit number used to identify suffix pages. It is only required where additional pages or page numbers need to be inserted into a document, or where Document IDs need to be otherwise adjusted to ensure consistent numbering. The suffix will be preceded by an underscore, padded with zeros to consistently result in a 4-digit structure.

      An example of the Document ID structure is set out below:

      XYZ.001.001.0001

      Where:

      XYZ

      Party code

      001

      Unique box number allocated by person

      001

      Unique container number allocated by person

      0001

      Sequential page number

      Note: If alternate numbering is required please contact the Royal Commission to discuss

  • 2.3   It is understood and accepted that Document IDs may not be consecutive as a result of the removal of irrelevant documents during review. A person will however identify host and attachment documents with consecutive Document IDs.
  • 2.4   A document filename is to be named according to its corresponding Document ID upon electronic production.

3.   Document Hosts and Attachments

  • 3.1   Every document that is attached to or embedded within another document will be treated as an Attached Document. A document that contains at least one Attached Document will be called a Host Document. A document that is not either a Host or Attached Document will be called a Standalone Document.
  • 3.2   A person will ensure that false or unnecessary relationships between Host Documents and Attached Documents are not created by:
    • (a)   taking reasonable steps to ensure that email footers, logos, and other repeated content are not separated as Attached Documents;
    • (b)   ensuring that physical or digital document containers, such as hard copy folders or electronic ZIP container files, are not identified as Host Documents, unless the identification of the container as a Host Document is necessary to the understanding of the documents within that container; and
    • (c)   unless required to provide documents in their native structure for technical reasons, documents should be extracted from their containers and the container itself should not be produced.

4.   Expert reports, statements and submissions

  • 4.1   Unless otherwise agreed with the Solicitors Assisting the Royal Commission, each expert report, statement and submission should be provided in accordance with the timetable requested by the Royal Commission.
  • 4.2   Each document referred to within an expert report or statement or post-hearing submission will be assigned a Document ID in accordance with this Protocol, and must be referenced in the report or statement by use of this Document ID. If exhibit numbers are used (e.g. Exhibit JS-1, Exhibit JS-2) these must be used in conjunction with the Document ID in parentheses.
  • 4.3   An expert report or statement or post-hearing submission shall not be assigned a Document ID by the person producing the document.
  • 4.4   Where possible all documents referenced in an expert report, statement or submission should be hyperlinked to a Protocol-compliant version of the document.
  • 4.5   Witness statements or expert reports are required to be produced by way of a USB drive or other electronic format, containing the following items or sub-folders:
    • a.   a copy of the signed statement in PDF format;
    • b.   a copy of the finalised (but not signed) statement in its native electronic form (for example, in Microsoft Word format);
    • c.   a subfolder named ‘Exhibits’, containing all documents referenced within the statement in a format that complies with this Protocol, with an accompanying load file in accordance with Schedule 1. This folder should not include a copy of the statement or report; and
    • d.   an ‘Index of Documents’ in Microsoft Word or Excel format (PDF indices will not be accepted). The index must list all documents referred to in the statement, and must contain, at a minimum, the following columns:
      • i.   the Document ID;
      • ii.   the corresponding Exhibit number (e.g. JS-1), if adopted;
      • iii.   the date of the document; and
      • iv.   a description of the document. This must be a plain English description and should not simply contain the document’s electronic file name.
  • 4.6   For the avoidance of doubt, a statement or report may not be produced via email unless approved by the Commission.
  • 4.7   The method for submitting post-hearing submissions will be published on the Royal Commission’s website in due course.

Use of Technology to Manage Documents

5.   Document metadata

  • 5.1   Wherever possible, a person is to rely on the automatically identified metadata of electronic documents. Automatically identified metadata should be used when:
    • (a)   searching for documents;
    • (b)   itemising documents in a list; and
    • (c)   preparing a production of documents in accordance with the Production Specification at Schedule 1.
  • 5.2   A person should take reasonable steps to ensure that all appropriate document metadata is not modified or corrupted during collection and preparation of electronic documents for review and production.
  • 5.3   Document metadata is to be automatically extracted using UTC + 10 (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra).The Royal Commission accepts that complete document metadata may not be available for all electronic documents. A person should attempt to provide complete metadata where practicable.
  • 5.4   A person will provide information regarding the software and procedure used to automatically identify the metadata of their electronic documents if requested by the Royal Commission.

6.   De-duplication of documents

  • 6.1    A person will take reasonable steps to ensure that duplicate documents are removed from the exchanged material (De-duplication).
  • 6.2    The Royal Commission acknowledges that there may be circumstances where duplicates need to be identified and produced for evidential purposes.
  • 6.3    Duplication will be considered at a document group level. That is, all documents within a group comprising a host document and its attachments, will be treated as duplicates only if the entire group of documents is duplicated elsewhere. An attached document will not be treated as a duplicate if it is merely duplicated elsewhere as an individual standalone document that is not associated with another group of documents.
  • 6.4   A person will apply electronic deduplication using an MD5 algorithm.
  • 6.5   A person may also determine duplicate documents by way of manual review where appropriate.
  • 6.6   If a person has used any analytics tool to exclude documents from manual review or from production (for example Technology Assisted Review or ‘predictive coding’, email threading or textual near duplicate identification), they will identify these processes and any relevant details such as confidence intervals or similarity thresholds in a covering letter with the production of documents.

7.   Exclusion of unusable file types

  • 7.1   A NIST filter is to be applied to a person’s electronic documents to remove files with no user- generated content, such as system files and executable files, so that these are excluded from searches and disclosure (to the extent possible).
  • 7.2   Temporary internet files and cookies are to be excluded from the disclosure process.

8.    Treatment of email chain correspondence

  • 8.1   Subject to any redactions that may be required, where an email is identified as relevant and it forms part of an email chain, the person will disclose the entire email chain.

Document Production

9.   Production of documents to the Royal Commission

  • 9.1    All Documents to be produced to the Royal Commission will be:
    • (a)   Provided with an accompanying ‘Production Tracker Form’ as detailed in Schedule 3;
    • (b)   included in an electronic Index of documents, to be provided with the documents; and
    • (c)   provided in electronic format in accordance with the Production Specification.

10.   Format of the electronic index of documents

  • 10.1   All Documents to be produced will be itemised in an excel Index containing the following information for each document, where available:
    • (a)   Document ID
    • (b)   Host Document ID
    • (c)   Document Type
    • (d)   Document Date
    • (e)   Document Title
    • (f)    Author (From)
    • (g)   Recipient (To)
    • (h)   Notice to Give or Notice to Produce
    • (i)    Notice to Give or Notice to Produce Category
    • (j)    Privilege LPP
    • (k)   Basis for LPP Claim
    • (l)    Privilege PII
    • (m)  Privilege Parliamentary
    • (n)   Confidential

11.   Redacting legal professional privilege claims

  • 11.1   Parties seeking to claim legal professional privilege over a document should refer to ss 6AA and 6AB of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) and Practice Guideline 3 published by the Royal Commission (accessible on its website).
  • 11.2   Where, in accordance with the procedures in the Act and Practice Guideline 3, a party is not required to produce a document that is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege, the party must still ensure that the document is described in the list of documents in accordance with section 10 above, including the basis for the claim.
  • 11.3   Where, in accordance with the procedures in the Act and Practice Guideline 3, a party is permitted to redact that part of a document that is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege, the party must ensure that the document is described in the list of documents in accordance with section 10 above, including the basis for the claim.
  • 11.4    This Protocol does not replace the obligation to substantiate LPP claims as set out in Practice Guideline 3.
  • 11.5   If you have any questions or queries relating to claiming LPP, please contact the Solicitors Assisting on 1800 909 826 or RCNDA.Notices@royalcommission.gov.au to discuss.
  • 11.6   For the avoidance of doubt, only documents over which legal professional privilege is claimed may be redacted. Parties seeking to claim confidentiality, parliamentary privilege or public interest immunity must not redact or highlight documents on this basis, but should indicate these claims as set out below and using the appropriate fields as identified in Schedule 1.

12.   Highlighting other privilege or confidential claims

  • 12.1   This section does not apply to claims of legal professional privilege.
  • 12.2   If part of a document is subject to a claim of parliamentary privilege, public interest immunity or confidentiality, the parts of the document that are subject to the claim should be identified or, if appropriate, highlighted pending determination of the claim.
  • 12.3   If a claim for parliamentary privilege, public interest immunity or confidentiality is made over the whole document, the person producing the document should not apply highlighting to that document. A claim over the whole document will be made by selecting the "Yes" value in respect of the relevant claim as described in Schedule 1.
  • 12.4   If part of the document is highlighted, the person producing the document must retain a non- highlighted version of the document which must be produced to the Royal Commission on request. The relevant highlight colours to be applied are set out below:

    Colour

    Claim

    Orange

    Privilege PII

    Pink

    Privilege Parliamentary

    Light Blue

    Confidential

  • 12.5   Please do not redact documents on the basis of relevance or confidentiality.
  • 12.6    If you have concerns about the confidential nature of documents you are producing to the Royal Commission, please contact the Solicitors Assisting on 1800 909 826 or RCNDA.Notices@royalcommission.gov.au to discuss.

13.   Data security

  • 13.1   A person producing data will take reasonable steps to ensure that the data is useable and is not infected by malicious software.

14.   Errors in exchanged documents

  • 14.1   If errors are found in any produced documents, the person producing must provide a corrected version of the document to the Royal Commission.
  • 14.2    If errors are found in more than 25% of the produced documents in any one tranche, the person producing must, if requested by the Royal Commission, provide a correct version of all documents within the tranche.
  • 14.3   Where documents previously produced to the Royal Commission are re-provided with the intention to replace any content or rectify errors (ie images or LPP redactions or errors in metadata), they must be produced as a separate production accompanied with the following:
    • (a)   a clear written explanation identifying it as a replacement production;
    • (b)   a completed Production Tracker Form in which the “Y” option is checked against the question “Are these replacement files to previously provided documents?” and details of the content to be replaced (e.g. PDF only, all metadata, or only certain fields) outlined in the “Description/Comments” section of the form.
  • 14.4    It is the producing party’s responsibility to ensure a replacement production is clearly identified as outlined above. If the Royal Commission is unable to clearly ascertain that a production contains replacement documents, there is a risk that the documents may not be replaced accordingly.

15.   Electronic exchange media

  • 15.1    Unless otherwise agreed or ordered by the Royal Commission, the information produced and delivered to the Royal Commission will be contained on agreed electronic media, being either:
    • (a)   Online Registry;
    • (b)   hard drive or USB; or
    • (c)    optical media (CD or DVD).
  • 15.2    Where, for security reasons, media is encrypted entities will endeavor to consistently use the same password or encryption code for all protected media or container.

Schedule 1 - Production Specification for Four-Table Microsoft Access Load File (Ringtail Compliant)

1.   Production format

  • 1.1   Documents will be exchanged electronically, in a cascading Windows folder structure, with the corresponding document metadata structured in a four-table Microsoft Access database format.
  • 1.2   A person should also include the Index of documents in Microsoft Excel format.
  • 1.3    Placeholder PDFs will be produced for non-standard electronic documents (see also 2.5 below).

2. Preparation of documents

  • 2.1   A person will avoid converting native electronic documents to paper for production to the Royal Commission and will instead produce them as searchable multi-page PDF documents. For non-standard documents, such as Microsoft Excel and Audio/Video files, native document production is required.
  • 2.2   Documents produced as searchable multi-page PDFs will be stamped with sequential page numbers in the top right hand corner of each page. The number on the first page will be the Document ID. The format will be PPP.BBB.FFF.NNNN.
  • 2.3   Searchable electronic documents should be rendered directly to PDF to create searchable images. Documents should not be printed to paper and scanned or rendered to Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) format and then converted to PDF, unless required for the purposes of redaction within a document review platform.
  • 2.4   Non-Searchable or Image Only native files should be converted to searchable PDFs, and not image only or non-searchable PDFs.
  • 2.5   Non-Standard electronic documents that do not lend themselves to conversion to PDF (for example, complex spreadsheets, databases, etc.) will be delivered to the Royal Commission as native electronic documents or in another format agreed with the Royal Commission.
  • 2.6   Hard copy documents should be provided as searchable, stamped, multi-page PDF documents. The minimum requirement for scanned images is 300dpi text searchable multi-page PDF.
  • 2.7   Colour versions of documents will be created if the presence of colour is necessary to the understanding of the document. Documents which have coloured annotations or highlighting, photos, graphs or images are to be captured in colour.
  • 2.8   A person may apply Document IDs to the following paper documents where they contain relevant content:
    • (a)   older covers, spines, separator sheets and dividers
    • (b)   hanging file labels
    • (c)    the reverse pages of any Document.

3.    Document folder structure

  • 3.1   Each document will be named ‘DocumentID.xxx(x)’ where ‘xxx(x)’ is the file extension.
  • 3.2    The top level folder containing every document will be named ‘\Documents\’
  • 3.3    The documents folder will be structured in accordance with the Document ID hierarchy, ie “Documents\PPP\BBB\FFF\”

4.   Overview of structure of four-table Microsoft Access database

  • 4.1    The document metadata is to be structured into the following four Microsoft Access database tables:

    Table Name

    Table Description

    Export

    Main document information.

    Parties

    People and organisation information for each document.

    Pages

    Listing of electronic image filenames for each document. The Pages table will correspond to the files within the cascading document folder structure.

    Export Extras

    Additional data fields for each document, including subjective fields populated by the parties during review.

 

  • 4.2   Export Table

    Field

    Data Type

    Explanation – Document Types and Coding Method and possible values

    Document_ID

    Text, 255

    Document ID

    Host_Reference

    Text, 255

    If the document is an attachment, this field contains the Document ID of its host document. 
    If a document does not have a host, this field is to be left blank\NULL.

    Document_Type

    Text, 255

    Paper Documents

    Refer Document Types in Schedule 2.

    Electronic Documents (including email, email attachments, loose files etc)

    Either native file type or Document Type in Schedule 2 as determined on the basis of the face of the document.

    Document_Date

    Date, 11

    DD-MMM-YYYY

    Paper Documents

    Determined on the basis of the date appearing on the face of the document.

    Undated Documents

    Leave field blank\NULL.

    Incomplete Date
    (Year Only)

    For example,
    01-JAN-YYYY

    Incomplete Date
    (Month and Year Only; or
    Day and Month Only)

    For example,
    01-MMM-YYYY,
    DD-MMM-1900

    Emails

    Email Sent Date

    Unsent Emails

    Last Modified Date

    Other Electronic Documents

    Last Modified Date; or
    Date appearing on the face of the document.

    Estimated

    Text, 3

    Yes OR No OR NULL

    Default

    No OR NULL

    Undated Documents

    No OR NULL

    Incomplete Date

    Yes

    Title

    Text, 255

    Paper Documents

    Determined on the basis of the title appearing on the face of the document.

    Email

    Subject field from email metadata.

    Other Electronic Documents

    Metadata file name or determined on the basis of the title appearing on the face of the document.

    Level_1

     

    The Party level of the Document ID.

    Level_2

     

    The second level of the Document ID.

    Level_3

     

    The third level of the Document ID.

 

  • 4.3   Parties Table
    • (a)   This Table holds the names of people associated with a particular document and their relationship to the document. It may also hold organisation information for these people. There is a one-to-many relationship between the Export Table containing the primary document information and the Parties Table because multiple people could be associated with a single document.

      Field

      Data Type

      Explanation

      Document_ID

      Text, 255

      Document ID

      Correspondence_Type

      Text, 100

      Paper Documents

      AUTHOR, RECIPIENT
      BETWEEN, ATTENDEES, CC
      To be determined on the basis of the face of the document.

      Emails

      FROM, TO, CC, BCC

      Other Electronic Documents

      AUTHOR, RECIPIENT, CC
      To be determined from the automatically identified metadata.

      Organisations

      Text, 255

      Paper Documents

      Name of organisation that produced the document as determined on the basis of the face of the document.

      Emails

      Blank\NULL

      Other Electronic Documents

      To be determined from the automatically identified metadata.

      Persons

      Text, 255

      Paper Documents

      To be determined on the basis of the face of the document.

       

       

      Emails

      Electronic metadata – email addresses or email alias names.

       

       

      Other Electronic Documents

      Author value to be determined from the automatically identified metadata.


       
     
    • (b)    Describing people in the Parties Table:
      • (1)    A person’s name may be referenced using:
        • (i)    email addresses (for example, jcitizen@xyz.com.au); or
        • (ii)    (Surname [space] Initial (for example, Citizen J) where email addresses are not available; or
        • (iii)    by reference to a position (for example, Marketing Manager) where email addresses and surname, initial is not available; or
        • (iv)    by reference to an organisation associated with the person where email address, surname, initial and position are not available.
      • (2)   Multiple recipients will be entered as separate rows in the Parties Table.
  • 4.4   Pages Table
    • (a)   There will be at least one entry in the Pages Table that relates to a single document in the Export Table. Concurrently, there will be an entry in the Pages Table for every file provided in the cascading document folder structure.

      Field

      Data Type

      Explanation

      Document_ID

      Text, 255

      Document ID

      File_Name

      Text, 128

      Filename, including extension of each indexed document.

      Page_Label

      Text, 32

      “PDF” for files produced as searchable multipage PDF documents. 
      “Native” for documents produced as native electronic files.

      Page_Num

      Number,
      Double

      “1” for files produced as searchable multipage PDF documents. 
      “2” for documents produced as native electronic files.

      Num_Pages

      Number,
      Double

      A number that represents the total number of pages of the document for files produced as searchable multipage PDF documents. 
      “1” for documents produced as native electronic files.


       

    •  
  • 4.5   Export Extras Table
    • (a)   The Export Extras Table holds any additional metadata the parties wish to exchange that is not held in the other three Tables mentioned above. In addition to automatically identified document metadata, the Export Extras Table will also hold subjective coding information about documents that has been determined by the parties.

      Field

      Data Type

      Explanation

      Document_ID

      Text, 255

      Unique Document Identifier (Document ID)

      theCategory

      Text, 50

      Text OR Date OR Numb OR Bool OR Pick OR Memo

      theLabel

      Text, 255

      Custom Field Name, from the List of Extras Fields below

      theValue

      Text, 255

      Custom Field Contents from the List of Extras Fields below

      Memovalue

      MEMO

      Custom Field Contents from the List of Extras Fields below for values more than 255 characters


       

    • (b)   Required Extras Fields

      theLabel

      Field Type (theCategory)

      Acceptable Values

      Explanation

      Document Date and Time

      TEXT

      DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM:SS  (where HH is a 24 hour format)

      Document Date and Time electronically extracted using the respective processing tool (ie. Email Sent Date and Time OR Last Modified Date and Time). Where no time is electronically available the format value will be DD-MMM-YYYY  00:00:00

      Time

      TEXT

      HH:MM:SS (where HH is a 24 hour format)

      Document Time electronically extracted using the respective processing tool (ie. Email Sent Date and Time OR Last Modified Date and Time). Where no time is electronically available the format value will be 00:00:00 OR NULL.

      Confidential

      PICK

      Yes
      No
      Part

      Identifies whether confidentiality is claimed over all or part of a document.

      Privilege PII

      PICK

      Yes
      No
      Part

      This field identifies whether a claim of public interest immunity is made over the document.

      Privilege Parliamentary

      PICK

      Yes
      No
      Part

      Where applicable, this field identifies whether a claim of parliamentary privilege is made over the document.

      Highlighted

      PICK

      Yes
      NULL

      This field identifies whether the document has been highlighted to identify a ‘Part’ Confidential claim, ‘Part’ Privilege PII or ‘Part’ Privilege Parliamentary claim. 
      This material must not be redacted.

      Privileged LPP

      PICK

      Yes
      No
      Part

      Identifies whether legal professional privilege is claimed over all or part of a document. 
      This field is only required where legal professional privilege is claimed over all or part of the document.

      Privilege LPP Basis

      PICK

      Legal Advice
      Litigation
      Commission Determined

      Identifies the basis for a claim of legal professional privilege over all or part of a document. 
      This field is only required where legal professional privilege is claimed over all or part of the document.

      Redacted

      PICK

      Yes
      NULL

      Identifies whether a document is produced in redacted form to identify a Part claim of legal professional privilege. 
      This field is only required where a document is produced in redacted form and must only be applied to Part LPP claims.

      Notice to Produce or Notice to Give

      PICK

      Eg:
      NTP-001
      NTG-001

      Royal Commission request number as identified on the Notice to Produce or Notice to Give.

      Notice to Produce or Notice to Give Category

      PICK

      Eg:
      NTP-001(a)
      NTG-001(a)

      Specify the particular document category within the Notice to Produce or Notice to Give that the document relates to. Where more than one category, specify multiple. Always prefix the category with the Notice request number.

      Security Classification

      PICK

      Eg:
      DLM: Sensitive

      Where applicable, the security classification of the document.

      File Path

      MEMO

       

      Source path of the original file, if available.

      File Name

      TEXT

       

      Source name of the original file, if available.

      Date Created

      TEXT

      DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM:SS

      Electronic metadata – created date, if available.

      Date Last Modified

      TEXT

      DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM:SS

      Electronic metadata – last modified date, if available.

      MD5 Hash Value

      TEXT

       

      MD5 hash value used for deduplication, if available.

      File Extension

      TEXT

      Eg:
      XLSX
      PDF

      The file extension or original native file type is to