Legal and Organisational Issues in Courtroom Technology Implementation and Institutionalization

Legal and Organisational Issues in Courtroom Technology Implementation and Institutionalization

Wan Satirah Wan Mohd Saman (Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6623-8.ch007
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Information technologies in courtrooms have served systematic and speedy justice dispensation since the start of the last decade. They brought forward significant changes to court operation around the world. However, during this period a variety of technology implementation and institutionalisation issues also surfaced. This chapter aims to discuss the legal and organisational issues by focusing on the case of Malaysian courts. It is advanced with the presentation of growing phenomenon of courtroom technology implementation and institutionalisation in a big picture, followed by the current scenario of the case of technology implementation projects in Malaysian courts, the E-Court, and E-Shariah. This chapter also discusses the different perspectives in technology institutionalization through a five-step technology implementation/institutionalisation process.
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Current State Of Courtroom Technology Implementation And Institutionalization

In the United States, as early as 1998, the courts in Los Angeles and Indianapolis had already embarked on integrated high-technology courtroom programs (Lederer 1998). In April 1998, the ‘Courtroom 21’ project verified 8 qualifying state facilities and 32 federal ones. Among others, these consisted of the ‘virtual trial’, virtual law firm, online traffic fine payment, remote witness testimony, presenting evidence electronically and remote forensic-expert-laboratory testimony.

In Europe, all EU countries have case management systems of some kind in their courts and prosecutors’ offices but their functionality and performance varies (Contini & Lanzara 2009; Fabri & Contini 2001; Lanzara & Patriotta 2001). In criminal cases in Norway’s and Finland’s Supreme Court, the case management system covers the whole workflow of a case, from prosecution, connection to the police, and then to court decision, while other countries are developing or upgrading their own e-justice system. This includes Austria, whose main goal is to redesign the case management system so that a single application spanning over 40 proceedings is operating. Italy’s e-court system is currently at the test stage and Spain it’s the Ministry of Justice and Autonomous Communities is developing various initiatives. The Swedish case management system (MAHS) is implemented in all 120 district courts and county administrative courts (Contini & Lanzara 2009; Fabri & Contini 2001). Other European countries that currently employ e-justice are Italy (Contini & Cordella 2007) and the Netherlands (Reiling 2010; Schmidt 2007).

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