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Are Courts Struggling with Digital Justice?

An article in The Times claims that a report – Delivering Justice in a Digital Age – which has been produced by police and CPS inspectors have highlighted that many courts still relied on basic stationary despite a £700m programme that has updated online procedures.  This has therefore raised questions as to whether courts can adapt to the digital age, amid reports of lost computer disks, poor communication and frequent mistakes.

The inspectors went on to claim that "the vision of a digital end-to-end system, where information is captured once by a police officer responding to a crime and then flows through the system without duplication or reworking is still some way from becoming a reality".    

One of our Criminal Solicitors, Andrew Brumhill, gives a more positive outlook on the topic:

“The Court service has, and is continuing to go through significant IT upgrades. The implantation of that has caused some significant difficulties which are commonly known and reported. However the IT introduction has already brought positive advantages and significant benefits to all Court Stakeholders.

When a defendant is brought to the Court cells on a warrant, the court and CPS files can be downloaded within minutes. This has facilitated the hearing being dealt with promptly when historically ‘warrant’ file cases could languish for many hours awaiting paper files to be located and retrieved.

I have also successfully used ‘Click Share’ technology in trials to allow witnesses, defendants, and Magistrates to view Google street view to describe locations or scenes, no more often poorly copied photographs being passed around the Court room.

Every significant IT development is bound to have teething problems, but I am convinced that the future looks far more positive if it can be embraced and used to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

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