From my previous 19 years in law enforcement, I’ve spent a lot of time in courtrooms. When I think about all the courtrooms I’ve seen, they’re more or less the same as they were 200 years ago, except for adding computers and monitors.
Court systems around the world traditionally have run on paper-based processes—and the vast majority still do—yet that’s beginning to change. Judicial systems in the United Kingdom generated a million pages of documents a daybefore moving to a Microsoft cloud-based digital justice platform. In addition to saving significant costs of producing, transporting and storing large quantities of paper, the best outcome of going digital is the data becomes easily accessible, free from paper silos, and available for analysis and interrogation to find relevant judicial hearings and decisions, case law, legal trends and more. (See more details in my blog on e-justice.)
Digital justice—a trend around the globe
I’m pleased to see digital transformation is a growing trend in courts around the globe—and producing results. After just 12 months, the U.K.’s digital justice platform has reduced more than 18 million paper documents related to 100,000-plus cases involving 18,500 registered users. In addition to moving from paper to a digital environment, courts also are innovating with other modern technologies:
Technology also is improving the transparency and efficiency of scheduling courtrooms so that witnesses, victims, suspects, attorneys and judges can see when and where they’re needed instead of having to wait for a courtroom to become available.
Remote hearings, trials and testimony, made possible by our secure Skype for Business, are making the physical location of courthouses less important. They are especially useful to:
Enable a panel of judges to hear cases virtually
Avoid the expense and danger of transporting violent defendants from jail
Record a victim’s statement once and then reuse that video for any following hearings so the victim doesn’t have to keep reliving the event.
Cybersecurity: the foundation of Microsoft court solutions
Court IT systems and legal records need to be protected from cyber-attacks just the same as court buildings, staff, attorneys, case participants and visitors need physical protection. Microsoft takes cybersecurity very seriously, investing a billion dollars each year to make sure our cloud ecosystem is secure. Our cybersecurity experts in the Digital Crimes Unit and the Cyber Defense Operations Center monitor information to identify real threats, and they also develop tools and techniques to track and catch cybercriminals, and share with law enforcement from around the world.
Microsoft Azure is the global, trusted, hyper-scale cloud, providing the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud provider.
Office 365, which is widely used by courts for scheduling and communications, provides control over data security and compliance with privacy, transparency and refined user controls built right in. Advanced Security Management also offers enhanced visibility and control.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps manage and visualize the judicial process work flow—one of the biggest workloads for courts.