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About the eCourts renewal project

The following is a transcript of the Supreme Court of Victoria's About the eCourts Renewal Project video.

TRANSCRIPT

Preparing for a day in court begins long before one steps into the courtroom, and with new technology they can now see the precise setup of the courtroom before stepping out.
 
As the judge sits to preside they use the tailored judges portal on their own secure judges network. 

The Supreme Court of Victoria's digital transformation might be thought of as an iceberg, what lies beneath in the floors and walls holds the vast technological upgrades through new cabling, including fibre optics.

Peeking from the surface are Ultra HD monitors, surface studios on the bench , acoustic treatments and evidence display.

What was taken out is just as important as what has been put in.

Judicial officers have more flexibility in the different ways they work, and added capability to communicate with their associate to mute transcription and to view documents or evidence before broadcasting on their own monitor. 

Technology in the upgraded spaces never distracts, nor blocks the focus of every courtroom - though standing before it. 

The Associate is the hub of courtroom activity with the role increasingly connected and responsive. 

In our digital courtroom, this includes raising documents and evidence for simple to complex witness interactivity, sending documents to the judge on private preview before presenting to the courtroom, as well as introducing video conferencing calls.

Each courtroom can now video conference on demand to anywhere in the world, to anyone with an internet connection, and device. 

Remote, expert, and vulnerable witnesses may be dialled in by the court through the secure WebEx platform alleviating the need to attend a video conferencing centre. 

All parties of the video conference call can see the courtroom, each other, and any documents being addressed and highlighted by others from their device. 

Integrated court technology is suited to the witness before the court, purposefully built with straight-forward touchscreen capability that can be scaled up or down depending on the witness. 

Each witness box is fitted with interactive evidence displays, where an eyewitness may use their finger to depict the movements they saw without any need for technological savvy. 

That evidence can be broadcast on the Ultra High Definition monitors, while the Associate saves the file, so that it may be tended as evidence. 

The ways that matters are litigated might potentially be transformed. Or they could very well be preserved with the advantage of augmented quality in evidence display. 

Connectivity to Ultra High Definition monitors for Counsel is possible with any device, in any way, wirelessly and via HDMI cabling. 

The Associate provides and revokes broadcasting access to the practitioners, wherever requisite throughout the matter.

Over the last four years, the Supreme Court redesigned the courtroom with digitisation at its core, before embarking on an innovation strategy to deliver a more efficient and accessible justice system.

By examining and challenging convention, the Court began to entirely rebuild outdated infrastructure. This allowed for the development of the Court’s exclusive internet access that markedly improved speed and reliability – and formed the foundation for the rest of the transformation to be built upon.

Next, the Court digitised how cases were initiated by practitioners, administered and allocated by the Registry , and managed by the judicial officer, through eFiling.

An electronic format of the paper court file is now the primary file that is used from initiation, through administration and management of a matter, before it is digitally archived.

eCourts renewal progress

Bar graph showing the progress of the eCourts transformation project. The graph shows that 31 courtrooms have been completed
Progress bar

The project started in January 2019 and it is expected that by June 2021, all 31 courtrooms and three mediation rooms will be renewed to support the increasingly digital nature of matters heard at the Supreme Court. 

Courtrooms upgraded and fully operational

Court building

Court  
Trial Division (210 William Street) Courts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7B, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15
Court of Appeal (459 Lonsdale Street) Blue Court, Green Court, Red Court
Old High Court Courts 1 and 2
William Cooper Justice Centre Court 6

Courtrooms currently being upgraded

Court building Court
William Cooper Justice Centre Courts 3 and 5
eCourts in brief
  • Built upon entirely new physical and technological infrastructure in a scalable environment, each courtroom will have ultra-high definition video-conferencing capability, upgraded evidence presentation system, livestream and webcast capability, as well as amplified acoustics.
  • Families of victims may be offered the option of observing remotely, while directions and interlocutory hearings scheduled at short notice may provide those involved a view that may not otherwise be practical.
  • CCTV, images and video captured on mobile devices will be displayed in ultra-high definition and practitioners will have the capability to connect both wired and wirelessly by WiFi or HDMI.