Reducing wait times in court through the use of modern legal technology

Reducing wait times in court through the use of modern legal technology

Budget cuts, rising caseloads, mounting backlogs, and a lack of available staff are just some of the problems facing courts across the country. In order to address these concerns, it is crucial that the judicial system make use of technological advancements to boost efficiency, accessibility, and justice.

Thomson Reuters has recently commissioned the 2023 Court Trends & Technology Survey to better understand the current state of technology within the courts and to help identify opportunities to make courts more efficient and accessible.

Judiciary Examines Significant Results

About 45% of courts said they had implemented some sort of technological innovation in the past year, whether it be a new method, process, or service. Electronic filing, video conferencing (via services like Zoom, WebEx, and Teams), and remote hearings are among the most significant developments. In spite of the fact that these are essential components of any court’s digital infrastructure, more can be done to guarantee that the judge can quickly and accurately review all relevant evidence and applicable case law.

Online tribunals are here to stay. As a natural consequence, the pandemic appears to have sparked a rise in the use of remote hearings as a means of compensating for these delays. Virtual hearings have continued to grow in popularity; in fact, 40% of respondents said they now outnumber traditional hearings. Furthermore, 90% of respondents now regularly use video conferencing.

Identifying and fixing the underlying causes of delays: Delays in scheduling hearings are a common cause of case backlogs. According to the TR poll, the typical judge presides over 58 cases per week. And around 10 of those court dates were moved backwards (18%) on average. Another thing is that a hearing delay can cause a chain reaction of other problems. According to the survey, 77% of judges agree that even a short delay can affect other cases. An essential part of any strategy to modernise is the implementation of solutions to reduce the incidence of hearing delays.

In addition, the survey inquired as to the most common causes of delay as perceived by the courts. Failure to appear was the primary reason for delays, followed by evidentiary issues, administrative mistakes, and finally legal issues.

Methods for minimising wait times

Methods for minimising wait times

Provide options for remote participation; in Arizona, judges and court officials anticipate a significant increase in 2020 participation rates due in large part to remote access. In Maricopa County, Arizona (with the largest population), the automatic judgement rate decreased by 8% year-over-year in June 2020, and the failure-to-appear rate for eviction proceedings decreased from nearly 40% in 2019 to just around 13% in February 2021.

You should prioritise the judge’s time by arranging the evidence and legal analysis in an orderly fashion. Any plan to modernise the judicial system must prioritise finding ways to reduce the amount of time a judge spends gathering the evidence and facts necessary to make an informed ruling.

A system for organising and presenting evidence in court can be useful. Trials are lengthened when digital evidence is poorly organised or unavailable. An increasing amount of video evidence… is presenting difficulties and lengthening case preparation time, according to a recent NSCS study. On the other hand, 75% of judges surveyed said their court does not use a digital evidence management system. And yet, over half of those polled said they would benefit from doing so. Additionally, more than two-thirds of judges who do not currently use a digital evidence management system believe that having one would greatly improve the process of sharing digital evidence with the court.

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Legal services from Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters provides a suite of products designed to assist judges in managing digital evidence, as well as organising and analysing the case’s facts and law.

Case Center is a cloud-based service that allows all parties involved in a case to have instantaneous access to all relevant case documents. Case Center is a digital platform for submitting and sharing evidence and exhibits for both online and in-person trials, and is used by judges, attorneys, and court staff. Case Center users’ opinions on the software’s effectiveness in the court agree that it speeds up trials, makes it easier to share evidence, and requires less paper.

In the world of legal research, nothing beats Westlaw Precision, the most up-to-date and sophisticated of all available options. Westlaw Precision gives judges unrivalled speed, accuracy, and confidence in locating cases with similar law and facts. The time it took to find relevant cases using Westlaw Precision was more than double that of more conventional research methods.

Rapid Judicial Background Check With the help of Judicial, judges can upload multiple briefs and use AI to compare the citations relied upon by each party, find relevant authority that was omitted, and quickly verify the accuracy of quotations and citations, ensuring that they have not missed a crucial piece of law.

Judiciary systems of all sizes can benefit from a streamlined, comprehensive set of legal analysis tools. It helps judges be more efficient with their time and paper than ever before. Judges now have all the tools they need in one convenient location, thanks to the integration of Case Center, Westlaw Precision, and Quick Check Judicial.

Daniel Harrison

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