Around the world, governments and judicial organisations everywhere have been implementing E-justice systems. Especially in the EU, US, and beyond, in China, Africa and Latin America.
E-justice (also spelled as EJustice) is a way of speeding up judicial processes — making the justice system digital — and making law courts at every level more cost-effective. Justice systems are crucial to the functioning of any country. The law is the basis of modern human society.
Over the last 15 years, the software revolution that has changed so much of business, communication, healthcare and other sectors, has made an impact on the judiciary. In the US and EU, E-justice software has made a positive impact. And this trend has only accelerated in recent years. In this article, we will look at these trends, and provide an overview of how governments new to these concepts can start to implement them.
Picture 1. E-justice software market share across the countries.
What is E-justice software?
E-justice software covers two broad areas. National and international judicial systems, and the whole legal sector.
Governments and the judicial systems, which are usually branches of a governmental system, but usually operate as an independent series of entities. High or Supreme Courts sit at the top of a justice system, with regional and criminal, civil or family courts dealing with other legal areas.
E-justice software is designed to support a judicial system. Making justice operate smoother, quicker, and more efficiently. Costing less money. Taking less time to arrive at the right outcomes. Speeding up formerly manual processes.
At the same time, the legal profession — a global multi-billion dollar industry — dealing with everything from family law, to civil, to criminal, and business, is a massive market for E-justice software. Whether it’s software to manage clients, billable hours, revenue, invoices, and cases more effectively; or to read documents quickly using AI and other solutions. Software plays a big role in the legal sector and justice systems.
What are the real-world benefits?
In Estonia — a small Eastern Europe country of 1.3 million people — E-justice has made impressive real-world impacts. In Estonia, you can declare taxes online in 1 minute, start a company in 15, and 99% of public services are online.
Estonian judicial systems are ‘digital by default’, alongside everything else the government provides for its citizens. As a result, Estonia has earned a series of number 1 rankings from the OECD, World Economic Forum (WEF), World Bank, European Commission (EC) and Freedom House, for entrepreneurship, ease of doing business, tax competitiveness, internet freedom, and a number of other areas of merit.
Estonia is a world leader when it comes to digital government and judicial services. Other countries are working hard to catch up. Annually, this saves the Estonian government and organizations, including the judiciary, 1400 years worth of manual work. It also saves citizens and service users (customers) a significant amount of time and energy.
Based on reports from Italy, Turkey and Mexico, the Rule of Law Unit within the United Nations (UN), has noted “how e-justice has provided significant financial and time savings, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the proceedings and timely delivery of justice.”
At the same time, “easier access to information and thereby the transparency of the judicial system has not only been important in itself, but it has also increased the quality of justice,” a UN report notes.
“The access to monitor the advancement of proceedings, good quality legal databases, and the availability of public versions of judgements has also provided an opportunity for public awareness and scrutiny, enhancing the accountability of the whole judicial system”, according to a UN legal panel 1 June 2016, in New York.
According to other reports, Turkey implementing E-justice has generated $100 million in annual savings. In Italy, savings are around €55 million annually, with 6 million daily users on the “On-line Civil Trial” system. Use of this system has increased the number of legal acts being filed to the system 25%, compared to filing using paper in courts and through the post.
How can law firms implement E-justice?
In the judicial system, implementing E-justice software is usually something that takes years and involves big budgets. Whole teams are involved. Political decisions need to be made. Committees established. Even adding to, improving on and changing what’s already up-and-running takes time.
However, in the legal sector, such decisions are often made more easily. But one of the challenges is to ensure E-justice software in law firms needs to integrate with software the courts and other organizations are using.
Practice management software is integrated with every aspect of how law firms operate. It removes time management roadblocks, improves efficiency, and increases revenues. A wide range of software is used across every operational area.
When new software is needed, a law firm needs to identify what’s missing and how to solve the challenges they have. Customized software development is usually the best answer to these particular problems. As there is a considerable amount of off-the-shelf software available, the most effective ways to solve a wide range of challenges with customized software.
Law firms work with trusted technology partners to solve numerous challenges. From design through the development and quality assurance, customized software makes it easier for law firms to operate, generate higher billables, and manage cases more efficiently.
LaSoft, as a web and mobile development agency, can help you with EJustice system development and implementation. Being an EU-based company, we are a technology partner you can trust. Get more information on EJustice systems. Our specialists can provide with a wide range of consultations, project estimation on web and mobile EJustice development, product design, project management and E-justice system quality assurance.