Electronic case management has many perceived benefits in courts. Aside from helping in automation and supporting case management, it also helps to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
Case management in courts is one of the primary management activities working side by side with court management. However, court management is all about human resource management, research and development, finance, maintenance, and the built environment.
With electronic case management, implementation can vary in different levels of sophistication. As a result, different case flows may also use different functional components of this electronic system.
Components of Electronic Case Management
In order to establish how electronic case management can help provide support and automation, it is necessary to understand what makes up case management. In a nutshell, it involves all activities from the moment the case, such as dispute resolution, starts to the closure and archive of a case.
A typical process in court consists of the following generic sub-processes:
- Receiving of documents
- Administrative preparation
- Preparation of content
- Court decision-making
- Content elaboration
- Administrative completion
- Sending of finalization and archiving
A large part of these sub-processes can get done efficiently with automation. Here are the four components of electronic case management that emerged from all these activities:
Administrative management is the first component, and it starts with record keeping. It documents the initiation of a case and continues to record every action and decision. If performed diligently, it results in a comprehensive case record.
A properly functioning administrative system can ensure that court files and records are easy to access, regardless of the case is still active, in frequent circulation, or already archived.
An excellent administrative management offers a great degree of support. It can help track filing of enforcement action, payment of fine or judgment, or imposition of penal sanction.
Logistics management’s second component is essential in guiding the flow of cases throughout – from receiving to archiving, and enforcement. As a case progresses, it goes through many people with different tasks. Without adequately implemented logistics, it can lead to cases stacking up, which can significantly hinder the efficiency of justice.
An excellent logistics management handles all the allocation of documents, people, time, and rooms required for activities and events. Since logistics management handles huge documents in court, electronic case management can significantly ensure its efficiency and integrity. It can help guarantee that the case files remain complete and available to judges and staff anytime.
Procedural management is all about the court’s compliance with procedural requirements as stated by law. This third component ensures that as the case progresses, it continues to meet all requirements. Some of the responsibilities that fall under procedural management include:
- Make sure the court has jurisdiction in the filing of initiating documents
- Checking if the parties follow timely action, such as the signing of documents
- Ensuring payment of court fees
- Checking if filing of the case falls within the time limit
Whether a judge creates tracks for specific case flows or uses standard text blocks in new documents, content management aims to make the process efficient. A great content management strategy can help judges give more uniform decisions for similar cases.
Electronic case management can fully automate some of these processes. For example, if the defendant chooses not to use the right of defense in money claim procedures, the court’s decision can be fully automated to make the workflow more efficient.
How Electronic Case Management Integrates with the Components
Here are some of the functionalities that electronic case management can provide to each component. For administrative management, electronic systems can offer:
- Record creation and update
- Case progress
- Archiving record date
- Management reports
Logistics management can benefit greatly from an electronic approach for the following functionalities:
- Milestone planning
- Capacity allocation
- Workflow management
- Tracking and tracing
Electronic case management can provide the following functionalities to enhance procedural management:
- Procedural checkpoints
- Milestone signaling
- Automatic actions
The following services can help improve the efficiency of content management in court:
- Logging facilities
- Dynamic templates
- Digital archiving
Electronic Case Management Improves the Justice System
Electronic case management can help provide reliable administration in courts, and it can help track cases faster which could lead to faster and more consistent resolutions. It is one of the tools that has a massive positive impact on electronic discovery in legal proceedings such as litigation, arbitration, and patent disputes that prominent judges such as Judge Shira A. Scheindlin expertly handle.