Series VPRS 18232
Witness Statements [Legal Discovery/Case Management System]
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 2015 - 2016
  Series in Custody 2015 - 2016
  Contents 2015 - 2016
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Digital
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2015 - 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence VA 5075
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2015 - cont Department of the Premier and Cabinet VA 1039
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Browse or keyword search to identify records of interest.

  • Function / Content
    This series contains the full set of unredacted witness statements of the Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV). The witness statements in this series were managed in the Commission's legal discovery / case management system, known as Ringtail. Each witness statement includes an export of the metadata that was stored against it within the legal discovery / case management system.

    Note that some witness statements in this series are subject to an order prohibiting the publication of any information that may enable the identity of the person who has given information or evidence to the Commission to be ascertained. Witness statements that are known to be subject to an order have been flagged.

    A set of redacted (blacked out) witness statements and associated attachments were published to the Commission's website during the course of the Commission. These can be found in VPRS 18244 Witness Statements and Attachments [Published].

    Key information recorded for each witness statement in this series includes:
    * The name of the witness.
    * The date the witness statement was imported to the Commission's legal discovery / case management system.
    * The date the witness statement was signed.
    * The unique identifier assigned to the statement.
    * A flag indicating if the statement was subject to an order prohibiting publication of any information that could identify the witness (and the text of the order if applicable).
    * An export of all the metadata that was stored against the statement within the case management / legal discovery system.

    Key information recorded for each attachment in this series includes:
    * The nominated title of the attachment.
    * The date the related witness appeared before the Commission and the name of the hearing module.
    * The unique identifier assigned to the attachment.
    * The simple number, combined with the witness initials, assigned to the attachment to help delineate multiple attachments related to the same witness.

    Some additional information that may be of use to researchers includes:
    * Not all witnesses gave a written statement (54 did not).
    * Not all written statements were from witnesses who appeared before the Commission during hearings (despite being labelled 'witness statement'), but were in response to a Notice.
    * Some statements are joint statements, and some joint statements were made by a combination of someone who appeared and someone who did not.
    * Some witnesses appeared more than once, but made only one statement.
    * Some witnesses appeared more than once and had a new statement for each day.
    * Some statements were made to supplement evidence given or points raised during hearings but were not provided during hearings.
    * A witness can have multiple files associated (statement and attachments) or none.

    Additional information about the role of witnesses can be found Volume 1, Section 1 of the Commission's final report, VPRS 18248: 'The Royal Commission and its work'. Appendix D of Volume 1 also has more information about witnesses (their role/organization) which may be of interest.

    Related series include:
    * VPRS 18244 Witness Statements and Attachments [Published]. This series consists of the redacted witness statements and attachments that were publicly available during the course of the Commission.
    * VPRS 18240 Legal Discovery / Case Management System Metadata Export. This series consists of a consolidated metadata export from the Commission's legal discovery / case management system.
    * VPRS 18231 Legal Team Records [Administrative and Investigative Records Collection]. Used to store draft and / or unsigned versions of witness statements to allow for review by the Commission's legal and policy teams who did not have access to the Commission's case management / legal discovery system.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The witness statements in this series were managed in the Commission's legal discovery / case management system - a proprietary system known as 'Ringtail'. Ringtail is an electronic discovery review system designed for law firms and corporate legal teams. It is Intranet and web-based with a relational SQL backend database. The system allowed users to: view native or Portable Document Format (PDF) files; search on, categorise and tag documents; add metadata and comments fields; make redactions over privileged/sensitive material and then produce the documents in a defensible manner.

    Ringtail e-discovery software operated as an Intranet-based legal application technology for use with a web browser. It provided knowledge management and case preparation through an Intranet repository for litigation document and information management, and collaboration for legal cases. As a scalable, web-based application, Ringtail provided users with a flexible search and delivery framework and allowed them to tailor their research to meet specific information needs.

    Ringtail provided the Commission's legal team with a review and analysis workflow. It enabled a range of metadata to be stored against each statement, as well as management of the redaction process.

    The RCFV had the following two requirements of its document management system:
    - The Royal Commission will maintain an electronic database using Ringtail software that will contain, amongst other things, copies of all material produced to the Royal Commission in response to a Notice or otherwise on a voluntary basis.
    - Documents maintained using Ringtail software will be allocated a document identifier which will be an alphanumeric sequence which uniquely identifies a document within a collection of documents.

    Whilst the Ringtail system itself has not been transferred to Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), an extract of the metadata stored within it can be found in VPRS 18240 Legal Discovery / Case Management System Metadata Export. Refer to the latter series for further details of the system and the metadata maintained within it.

    DRAFTING, MANAGEMENT AND PUBLICATION OF WITNESS STATEMENTS:
    The witness list was shaped by information from consultation sessions and written submissions.

    Witness Statements were received from the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office (VGSO) or created by the RCFV; then loaded into Ringtail (electronic legal discovery/case management software) and redacted there as required; then exported from Ringtail for further proofing; then approved for publication and uploaded to the RCFV website.

    ARRANGMENT FOR PURPOSES OF TRANSFER TO PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA:
    Witness Statements are arranged into electronic files - one for each Witness Statements. Each Witness Statement document is a record within the file. Metadata about the Witness Statements has been extracted from Ringtail and recorded against the files and records.

    Witness statements were assigned a unique document identifier, which appears on the top right hand corner of the document. Document identifiers were constructed after a protocol and indicate their source and content. Document identifiers begin with the prefix 'WIT'.

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 2015 - 2016 Closed N/A
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