Next steps for Court Modernisation in Ireland
Next steps for Court modernisation in Ireland – Electronic trials ("e-trials") becoming a courtroom reality

 

The Courts Service previously outlined its commitment to improving the area of technology in both its Annual Report for 2017 and its Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020, wherein the Chief Justice and Chairperson of the Courts Service, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, commented that "The potential of technology to improve access to justice, enhance service delivery and improve efficiency is enormous".

This sentiment was further emphasised by the Chief Justice in his recent address at the Burren Law School, which took place this May 2019, where he noted that a comprehensive plan and strategy would soon be presented to Government by the Courts Service in relation to IT infrastructure. 

What is apparent from the Chief Justice's recent remarks is that, despite the various pressures and resourcing demands that the Courts are coming under, there is a clear commitment on the part of the Courts Service to focus on "…the delivery of improved services to citizens and court users, through the use of technology and process reform."

This firm was involved in one of the first solely paperless trials to come before the Irish Commercial Court, which was the first trial of its kind to make use of an innovative, market-leading e-trial platform. The use of this technology presented clear benefits regarding efficient trial preparation and management, not only in terms of the overall costs and efficiency in litigating complex, commercial disputes, but also in terms of ensuring the security of data to an ISO 27001:2013 standard. 

We believe that the improvement of courtroom technology, on-line court services and the e-filing of court documents will no doubt lead to the more effective disposal of commercial disputes over time. Indeed, on 4 March 2019, the Supreme Court launched its first ever Annual Report documenting the work of the Supreme Court for 2018, which included the introduction of a new e-filing system that went live in February 2019 on a pilot basis, whereby all applications for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court can now be made electronically. This demonstrates that the wheels of change are truly in motion when it comes to improvements in the overall IT infrastructure and processes of the Irish Courts Service. 

Given this clear commitment to improving technology in the Irish courtroom, the use of e-trial platforms will soon become a common feature in the trials of commercial disputes, making Ireland an attractive jurisdiction to litigate and resolve commercial disputes in. 

For further information, please contact Paul Convery or Sarah Twohig or your usual William Fry contact.

 

Contributed by: Sarah Twohig

 

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Key Contacts

Paul Convery Partner

Sarah Twohig Senior Associate

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