As from December 1 of this year, it is planned to gradually introduce the e-case (electronic case management system) in courts. The members of the Judicial Council support the gradual introduction of the e-case, while drawing attention to the fact that the e-case must become an effective judicial tool that supports the judges in performing their basic function of adjudicating, and does not hinder or complicate it.

At the meeting of the Judicial Council on October 29, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Court Administration were heard. They informed about the readiness of courts to start working with the e-case, as well as responded to judges' concerns about uncertainty, insufficient communication and technical support for reform.

The transition of work in fully digital form will take place gradually until December 1, 2023. Currently, the first, preparatory stage has been completed and it is planned to start the e-case implementation stage, during which judges will be able to start working with the e-case. In order not to complicate the work of judges and not to overload the courts with the introduction of new technologies, initially the use of the e-case will be an option for courts alongside the litigation in paper form.

Having gathered the opinions of the court presidents and judges about the introduction of e-case in the work of courts, the members of the Judicial Council indicated that judges are ready to learn and work with e-case, but are worried about the uncertain situation, as it is currently not possible for courts to fully digitalize proceedings, neither technically nor in terms of human resources. Judges are not sufficiently involved in the development of the new digital platform, which raises concerns about the suitability of such solution for the needs of court work. Sanita Osipova, President of the Constitutional Court, gave a figurative comparison, namely provided that notaries and bailiffs created their own digital solutions and created them as effective work tools, then "a very expensive coat is sewn for courts with a good tailor, but it is tried on by a mannequin, not by a user".

The Judicial Council instructed the Court Administration to prepare an action plan for the implementation of the second phase of the e-case project, seeking the views of court presidents and judges on e-case, involving and hearing judges regarding the development of digital tools, staff training and technical support for the courts to meet the new requirements.

The Court Administration informs that the e-case envisages the gradual and full digitalization of case management system in processes of investigation, prosecution, litigation and sentencing, through the establishment of a single electronic procedure and ensuring the exchange of information between courts, prosecutors, litigants and other judicial information systems. During the implementation of the first stage of the project, a number of necessary actions have been taken to start digitalization of court activities, namely the technical infrastructure is prepared, basic database for the e-case is created, data network audit in courts is carried out, technical support is developed, and digitalization processes in procedural laws are implemented. In the second stage, staff training will take place and approbation of digital solutions in practice will begin.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211