Courts Minister Chester Borrows today demonstrated new technology under development by the Ministry of Justice, called eBench, which will significantly reduce the court’s reliance on paper.
“Our courts are old fashioned in that everything is still paper based and requires manual handling to move it through the system. With 250 000 Police charges filed each year, this paperwork imposes a significant cost on the court system,” says Mr Borrows.
Mr Borrows demonstrated eBench to members of the Justice and Electoral Committee today, as an example of work underway to modernise the courts system.
“eBench will allow Judges to manage criminal cases electronically, see charges processed up to 70 per cent faster and save the Ministry of Justice and Police approximately 93,000 hours per year. It will eliminate the need for courts to print, sign-by-hand, ink stamp, photocopy, courier, fax, post, file, locate and distribute all this paper,” says Mr Borrows.
Mr Borrows said eBench will also reduce inaccurate or incomplete records, transcription errors and will remove the need for bulky storage of large paper records.
“This is the sort of technology that will help us realise our goal of bringing courts into the 21st century, and is another example of how the Government is using technology to deliver better public services,” says Mr Borrows.
eBench will be in place for all electronic filing and recording of judicial decisions in the adult criminal summary court by 1 July 2013.