South Africa is implementing paperless digital courtrooms across the country after selecting London-headquartered digital evidence management provider CaseLines, in a move that is hoped will considerably improve access to justice including reducing ‘mislaid’ evidence.
Chosen by the South African Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ), CaseLines is initially to be used in all civil litigation cases across South Africa, eliminating the need for paper in court by introducing an entirely digital platform. The software’s tools allow the creation and presentation of a fully digital bundle including multi-media evidence; collaboration tools for enhanced pre-trial preparation and secure role validated videoconferencing for virtual hearings.
It’s expected that the new online system will help to alleviate some of the current logistical problems presented by judges being called to review documents across different courts, particularly given the distances involved and the challenging infrastructure.
CaseLines South Africa reseller Tirisan Tech Solutions will provide local implementation services, training and support, over the lifecycle of the contract. Tirisan Tech Solutions are a Microsoft Gold Partner: CaseLines operates on the Microsoft Azure Platform.
Judge Edwin Molahlehi, in the high court of Gauteng said: “One of the OCJ’s objectives is to eliminate financial and practical barriers to justice. By adopting CaseLines, South African courts will become more efficient and processes such as physical filing will become obsolete. This will make a huge difference to both judges and litigants and will bring us closer to achieving access to justice for all citizens.”
Rendani Ramabulana, managing director at Tirisan Tech Solutions and recently appointed member of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) added: “We are delighted to have facilitated the formal procurement process of CaseLines in South Africa. So far we have received incredibly positive feedback from judges trialling the system and we look forward to offering hands on technical support during the software’s implementation.”
Paul Sachs, Chief Technology Officer and Founder of CaseLines, said: “In many countries the use of paper bundles in the court room can lead to problems when evidence is ‘mislaid’, and justice is compromised. The introduction of a digital evidence system removes this possibility from the justice system, something we are humbled to be a part of.”
CaseLines is already delivering paperless hearings for lawyers and courts around the world, including the UK and the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa (COMESA). In the UK it’s been at the heart of the digitisation of the Crown Court.