Assurance Training: 1.2 Recording the Assurance as Evidence

NB: this is an interpretation of information seen on a course for legal incident note taking, not necessarily CAcert doctrine. As such it is a wip or suggestion, ...


This lesson follows on from Intro to Evidence to find the concept in our Assurance CAP form.

Documentation of the Assurance is an essential part of the Assurer's responsibilities and duties. The CAP form will create the backup needed in future disputes about the Assurance.

In that context it becomes your written evidence, and an Arbitration may swing on its quality as strong evidence. Good evidence has these effects:

To be an Assurer, you should meet a certain minimal standard for writing a CAP form and storing it. You will be able to:

/Alternate wording/ After this lesson, you will be able to:...

Note to Senior Assurers and co-auditors: Good evidentiary technique is efficient to collect. That is, once taught it becomes easier than avoiding. Outside the context of this lesson, etc, it is not necessary for the Junior Assurer's CAP form to meet the standard described here. Rather, seek to improve with one or two tips each time. If we get too bureaucratic about the result, there will be too much to remember, and the job will not be fun. See continuing improvement, and continuing education. Our standard here is not the same as PNB, which faces frequent aggressive cross examination.

The CAP form as Evidence

The role of the CAP form is to preserve the evidence of your Assurance with clarity, accuracy and permanence. It records the details listed in AP 1.1, 4.5 which you should be familiar with.

The CAP form will be used in these cases, in order of decreasing frequency:

In an Arbitration, an opposing party may seek to undermine the evidence presented by you. Imagine a court room drama, and a well-paid lawyer looking for weaknesses, and you'll get the picture: The other side might want to hide the truth, and your CAP form may be critical to establishing the real truth! This of course will be very rare in our work, far rarer than say police work. But, every Arbitration will be helped immensely by a few careful tips making the CAP form strong.

CAP form procedure (PNB)

The CAP form is evidence, and the Arbitration is a legal forum. Therefore, the CAP form is a legal document, and we should prepare for that. As a written form of evidence, we can borrow some tips from Police NoteBook procedure, which here we will note as "PNB".

Here are some characteristics and tips for preparing that good evidence:

Date & Time:

Place. In evidentiary form (PNB) the place should be written sufficiently for another to easily and accurately find that place again.

Blank-filling is a technique to ensure that nothing is added later. It is basically a single horizontal line across any blanks:

Blank filling should be done in the boxed areas (additional notes should be on the back).

Corrections in PNB are made like this:

Additional notes record such things as:

Each additional notes should on the back of the CAP form:

As evidence, additional notes can help in various ways:

Evidentiary Records

In writing a written record for evidentiary purpose:

Suspicion of Problems in Assurance

It may happen one day that we come across false documents in some sense or other. This might even lead to some sense of danger, although this is unlikely because our systems allow you to file dispute later on.

If you suspect there is a problem, there are several schools of thought as to how to continue.

The old teaching was to stop the Assurance, and hand back the forms. As an Assurer, this is your option, and it may be better to do that; you will have to rely on your judgement on the spot.

The new teaching is to Continue the Assurance.

  1. Complete it as well as you can at the time.
  2. State to the person that you will research the documents and allocate points later on.
    • this is called the late decision.

    • Including, you may have to allocate zero points if you cannot get confidence in the documents (state that).
  3. If another Assurer is around, go the extra distance to get other Assurances done, so as to create a bigger and broader set of evidence, and help the person to get assured.
  4. Especially, seek assistance if possible from a Senior Assurer.
  5. As soon as possible after the meeting, write out your record of the meeting, recording all the problems or observations that you thought were in the meeting (see below).
  6. After the event, research the documents and allocate points.
  7. File a dispute if you have a genuine concern.

Completing the Assurance creates good evidence and keeps the Web of Trust strong. Also, only the completed Assurance gets you your Experience Points, and a difficult Assurance as hinted above is worth more experience :)

Evidence intended to support a filed or future Dispute

In filing a dispute, there are two steps relevant here: Firstly, get the dispute filed, and underway.

Secondly, write out an Incident Report, being your record of the event. Do this As Soon As Possible so the facts are clearer. However, you may want to do this step before filing a dispute, in order to establish to yourself that a dispute is the right way forward.

The standard we try and reach for written notes presented as evidence is:

which essentially means within some hours. In court, written notes would (likely) reach this standard if done on that day, before any other incident that might confuse the mind, and before a sleep. For example of confusing other Incidents, consider being at an Event. If after having done 10 Assurances in a row, and then you write out an Incident Report of the first of those Assurances, how can you be sure that you haven't got confused, and entered details from the other 9?

When the notes are written in your laptop as opposed to paper, they cannot be taken as good evidence as is, as you can edit and change them as you like. You need to create a permanent and unchangeable record of them.

The easiest way to do that is to send the notes as an email. This can be either to send the email as a dispute. If not ready yet to file the dispute, consider sending the email to a Senior Assurer, with comment: "should this be filed as a dispute? Please advise." At a minimum, send it to yourself, but this is harder to prove as timestamped.

The email should be digitally signed, and ended with your name, CARS. Once so sent, especially to or from a CAcert address, it is logged and potentially archived in CAcert's email systems (future wish). With a digsig over your CARS, sent through an archiving independent system or to another Assurer, you have established it as your well-preserved evidence at that point in time.

Corroboration. Where an event or evidence needs corroboration, have another Assurer provide it with a CARS. For example, if the Assurer requests scans of your CAP form, you can scan it in, send it to the Arbitrator, CC a nearby Assurer, who can examine the scan and the original, and confirm in her CARS to the Arbitrator. Don't forget to add an Additional Note recording these acts.

Assurance/Training/EvidencePNB (last edited 2010-12-05 13:50:26 by UlrichSchroeter)