The Judiciary Is Not Above The (guardianship) Law

The Judiciary Is Not Above The (guardianship) Law – Could boardrooms soon be a thing of the past? We look at the countries that are at the forefront of the digitization of the judicial system

People in every society have arguments. In developed legal systems, the dominant approach to solving these problems is to instruct lawyers and go to court. But with the advent of the Internet, advanced hardware and advanced software, the days of standing in front of judges with flashy badges are beginning to change – albeit more quickly in some parts of the world than others.

The Judiciary Is Not Above The (guardianship) Law

Professor Richard Susskind, IT Adviser to the Chief Justice of the UK High Court, says there are four compelling reasons why courts should explore new digital capabilities. “The system is expensive for users; it usually takes too much time and dispute resolution takes a long time; largely unintelligible; and it also seems out of place in the internet community,” he says. “Citizens increasingly expect services to be delivered digitally.”

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The most obvious problem – documents that are hard to find and often even harder to access – has already been resolved by the High Courts of England and Wales, which completed the transition to fully digitized evidence files in April 2016. Civil Courts in England and Wales have yet to make that leap, however, and although there is a government consultation (pdf) on a major overhaul of civil justice provisions, many other countries are well ahead in e-justice. revolution.

Training can be a problem because already overworked judges and lawyers need time.

Turkey, which won the UN Public Service Award in 2012, now has a national e-service for all its judicial functions. Attorneys and citizens can view documents, pay filing fees, file documents and claims, and file their cases electronically in any state court. During the case, they can get access to all the necessary information and find out the date of the hearing without having to consult the court staff by phone or in person.

The data-driven transformation of Turkey’s justice system has led to faster, more transparent and more cost-effective service, Judge Servets Gül, head of information technology at the Ministry of Justice, told the UN meeting. Improved video conferencing capabilities also mean there is less need to bring prisoners to court. The system has nearly 2 million users, has resulted in $100 million in savings, and has created a virtually paperless work environment, making it greener.

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In Australia, the Federal Court was the first court to introduce electronic court records and is now a world leader in the management of digitized court records. Australia will now begin uploading all administrative records to its various registries.

Although the United States is clearly a larger and more diverse jurisdiction, many state courts are also going paperless, “requiring attorneys to file documents electronically that judges can access through laptops and other devices,” explains Dr. r. Judith. Townend, Lecturer in Media and Information Law at the University of Sussex.

It also notes that the US Supreme Court plans to implement full electronic filing of various types of lawsuits and pleadings, providing free public access to these materials on the court’s website, although it appears that paper filing will still be available . is necessary, which perhaps slightly upsets the intentions of the modernizers.

States that have lagged behind in their efforts to achieve simpler and more accessible online justice often struggle not only with the initial investment costs, but also with the need to convince lawyers and court officials deeply mired in the ins and outs of existing protocols that there are others. a course of action.

Judiciary 1 Of 2

Training can be a problem because already overworked judges and lawyers need time. There may also be power issues. For example, there is only one training center in India that supports professionals who want to learn more about e-Justice practices and principles.

But they are also trying new approaches to begin a more fundamental transformation of the justice system. Online dispute resolution systems developed by technology companies such as eBay and Nominet have encouraged some countries not just to replace paper packets with electronic documents, but to replace the physical courtroom with an Internet-based justice service.

Earlier this year, British Columbia, Canada, launched the country’s first online civil court designed to allow citizens to resolve minor real estate and land disputes. It was voluntary at first, but will soon become mandatory. For cases under $25,000, the benefit is that claimants can now avoid a costly trip to the Supreme Court, where legal fees can easily exceed the amounts in dispute. According to the Vancouver Sun, part of the lead system involves negotiation between the parties. “If no agreement can be reached, there will be a mitigation phase, similar to mediation, and ultimately the judge can enter a judgment with the same force as a judgment.”

Writing about the online case management system introduced in Pakistan’s high courts in Islamabad and Lahore, lawyer Taimur Ali Khan Momand points out that the digitization of case files is just a very simple first step on a path that he believes will be fully automated. and digitized e-courts via Skype have been implemented throughout the country. According to him, e-justice will not only eradicate corruption but also improve the justice system by making it more accessible to those who live far from judicial centers or can hardly afford justice.

Political Law Doctrines

While it is not surprising that countries such as Pakistan and India are struggling with some aspects of modernizing their justice services, Townend says the UK is also “lagging behind” similarly developed countries such as the Netherlands, where the Ministry of Justice and Security has introduced a service , which was created to offer automated legal advice in matrimonial disputes, including divorce, custody and alimony.

There are inherent risks in asking people to rely on an electronic court service during one of the most stressful times in their lives. Trust in the system is very important. Governments must reckon with the fear that the critical quality of human judgment may be lost and that citizens may be dealt with through anonymous online channels that are as alienating as the dispute resolution services used by large corporations.

One of the challenges of a more modernized and digitalized justice system is the possible negative attitude of the professionals working in it, admits Süskind, who emphasizes that “the issue of execution” is also critical.

As for his hope that the UK will soon make the leap to a fully online civil dispute resolution system, Suskind says that success will require “moving away from the idea of ​​the project and growing bigger”.

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Big government IT contracts have a poor track record, he says, so turning each advance into a modular step that’s scrutinized before the next goes a long way to allaying fears of the notoriously risky legal profession. , as well as increasing consumers’ confidence that their case will be dealt with fairly and that justice can indeed be served.

Sign up for Guardian Public Leaders’ free weekly newsletter with news and analysis delivered to you every Thursday. Follow us on Twitter @Guardianpublic. Lord Thomas says judicial independence and ensuring the judiciary is properly resourced is the best way to work with the government, MPs and the public

Judges at the grand opening of the Parliament. “It has never been more important for the judiciary as an institution to be more outward looking,” said Lord Thomas. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Judges must take “proactive steps” to ensure adequate funding for justice, which is becoming unaffordable for most people, the chief justice said.

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In a radical move to encourage judges to be “more politicized”, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd urged the industry to fight for better resources.

Speaking of “judiciary independence in a changing constitutional environment,” Thomas suggested that judges should isolate themselves from political reality.

His comments included a series of funding cuts to the Ministry of Justice, unlike the NHS or foreign aid budgets, which were fiercely defended by the Coalition and Conservative governments.

Speaking to the Association of Commonwealth Judges and Magistrates, he said: “Judicial independence is best served by greater, not less, day-to-day contact with the Government and Parliament.

Justice Of The Peace

“Therefore, a much more proactive approach by the judiciary was needed to understand the importance of the rule of law and to take more proactive measures.

He continued: “This new approach is necessary to protect the independence of the judiciary, in particular to provide the judiciary with adequate resources and to explain to the public why a judge is required by law to make decisions without appearing in the court.

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