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Digital renaissance

In the 21st century, how can it be that the UK's courts and tribunals are still working with paper files and treasury tags? In a lecture to the Society for Computers and the Law last week, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, explained why that must change.

23 May 2014

In a digital age where communication is
overwhelmingly by email, telephone and
instant message, the courts' antiquated case
management systems are left vulnerable to
unreliability, manual error, delay and
ever-increasing cost. Modern systems provide
opportunities to speed up these processes, making access to justice cheaper and easier.

Holding back from making any connection to legal aid reforms and the recent breakdown of high value fraud trials, it seems obvious that the court system must make cuts somewhere
if it is to survive with any degree of credibility, especially in an international marketplace.

Earlier attempts at electronic reform, championed by Lord Woolf, were quickly derailed. A change in approach is now required. We must look afresh at what is needed and cast aside traditional concepts. Anyone who has presented at court will sympathise with Lord Thomas' astute observation that "it is not uncommon to find cou...

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