Government outlines plans for better IT use in courts system

Out-Law News | 16 Jul 2012 | 12:50 pm | 1 min. read

The Government has outlined plans for improving the technology used by police and the courts system to make judicial processes faster and more efficient. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that past investments cost too much and under-performed.

In a white paper (459-page / 1MB PDF) the MoJ has outlined proposals to make better use of information technology to make the courts system more efficient.

"We want to ensure that the criminal justice system has an infrastructure fit for the 21st century," said the paper. "Although significant sums of money were invested in IT projects over the last decade, the public has not seen sufficient return on these substantial investments." "Programmes, for example, LIBRA and C-NOMIS suffered serious delays, ran over budget and did not deliver the functionality promised. Put simply, systems did not integrate well across the agencies, reinforcing 'silo' methods of working and creating waste," it said.

"Our approach is to make the best of what we have, exploiting these investments in technology to join up service delivery, moving away from a slow, paper-based system," said the paper.

The Government said that it would invest in video equipment and would investigate the use of social media "to improve the transparency of, and public engagement with, the criminal justice system".

"Too often the public view the criminal justice system as complex and remote, with processes that seem obscure," it said. "The system is in need of modernisation, with old fashioned and outdated infrastructures and ways of working that suit the system rather than the public it serves."

"We want a more flexible Criminal Justice System, including extending opening hours for courts, maximising the use of technology through virtual courts and prison to court video links and we are looking at radical proposals to speed up cases where offenders plead guilty," said Justice Minister Nick Herbert.