Five-year courts modernisation now targeting caseflow management

Five-year courts modernisation now targeting caseflow management

The Ministry of Justice reports on progress of its five-year modernisation program

A five-year modernisation is transforming New Zealand's courts.

A five-year modernisation is transforming New Zealand's courts.

At the half-way mark of its large courts modernisation program, the Ministry of Justice is embarking on a rollout of case management technology.

The Ministry reported to Parliament's justice committee that it is currently looking at options and working through time-frames for an implementation.

“This tool encompasses three of the [five] roadmap capabilities: electronic self-service, event management, and caseflow management.

The ministry’s five-year roadmap to modernise the court system and infrastructure targeted improvements in those three areas plus remote participation and business intelligence.

Created in 2017, the road-map takes what the agency calls a portfolio approach to the changes it needs to make to continue delivering "people-centred justice services".

“This includes the need to provide services that are easy to access and navigate, simple to understand and do not create unnecessary delay or stress,” it explained.

“Modernisation is an opportunity to improve access to justice by making it possible for all participants to engage more readily and in ways that better reflect their needs and increase overall confidence in the ministry’s services.”

The ministry has already supported the judiciary to implement iJudgment, a system which simplifies the judgment authorisation and distribution process, in the District Court criminal jurisdiction.

Sixty District Court judges have adopted the iJudgment process.

It has also rolled out Te Kete, an enterprise content management system in the High Court criminal and civil jurisdictions, supporting the registry and the judiciary to access court documents irrespective of the physical location of the court file.

In addition, a navigating justice project aims to improve the public’s experiences of justice services by making information relevant to a relationship break-up more accessible.

“A prototype for a new way to present information was tested with participants and has informed the design and approach for implementation,” the ministry said.

“The new tool will include a new way of presenting information enabling content to be tailored to their specific circumstances.”

The ministry has also implemented a national scheduling structure to introduce more aligned processes and services to the District Court and tribunals.

Over 100 people have now received training on scheduling practices using the case management system and scheduling tool since the start of 2019.

He Puna, the ministry’s business intelligence tool, was rolled out to the District Court in 2017/18.

“Since then, this capability has been extended out to the High Court and regionally based training has been delivered to over 180 managers in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland,” the ministry said.

The system includes eight new reporting dashboards for the High Court, Court of Appeal, District Courts and legal debt.

The Ministry has also upgraded remote participation and courtroom capability, including the sound systems in 28 court rooms and introduced ClickShare to enable evidence to be easily and safely replayed in court hearings.

An audit report from last year criticised the ministry for not tracking benefits realisation from of the various modernisation investments, but also noted that this was being addressed.

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