Presentation on theme: "PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING AN eAppeal: THE BRITISH COLUMBIA EXPERIENCE Tim Outerbridge, Law Officer, BC Court of Appeal Andrew Clark, Consultant."— Presentation transcript:
PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING AN eAppeal: THE BRITISH COLUMBIA EXPERIENCE Tim Outerbridge, Law Officer, BC Court of Appeal Andrew Clark, Consultant
Introduction: BC eCourt Project eCourt is a capital funded project in partnership with Court Services & the Judiciary. eAppeal is part of larger eCourt project in British Columbia. eAppeal is a “proof of concept” to test the effectiveness of courtroom processes and technologies.
Introduction: eAppeal 1. Why: Why does it make sense to conduct an eAppeal? 2. What: How did we come up with and plan the eAppeal process? 3. How: How did we evaluate the program once the appeal was completed?
Why Conduct an eAppeal? Because it’s Simpler: Can be easier to organise than a trial. Because It Efficient: With the right case, net cost savings to the parties and the court. Because it Achieves Strategic Goals: An investment in future simplicity and efficiency.
Strategic Goals Test the effectiveness of potential eCourt processes and technologies. To evaluate how the appellate process works when a proceeding at trial was conducted electronically. To construct a protocol to be used for all eAppeals, rather than just a “one-off procedure.”
Planning Procedure Examine as three sets of needs: Part 1, Front End Priorities: Working with counsel, court administration to devise a process to get the records to the court. Part 2, Back End Priorities: Working with judges, court administration to receive, work up and store the materials. Part 3, Presentation: Working with all parties to prepare the courtroom presentation.
Planning Procedure Each part planned using same process: 1. Consultation 2. Priorities 3. Solution/technology Solutions driven by needs, not technology.
Front End: Consultation Recognise the importance of consultation up front. Conducted informal consultation with counsel, court administration and judges to devise a “wish list” of priorities for each.
Front End: Rank/Compare Priorities Found that many court priorities matched counsel’s priorities: 1. Material needs to be linked and indexed to allow ease of access and research 2. Simple interface for highlighting, annotating, taking notes 3. Inexpensive / accessible: can sell to clients / public
Front End: Develop Protocol/Tech Indexed, Linked, Supports Preparation of Case Minimise documents & reduce overlap. Simple Interface Recognise robust set of tools presently outside skill level of judges. Accessible/Inexpensive What is the minimum we can spend to accomplish goals.
Front End: The Protocol Submissions to the court build on each other and remain static once filed. No need for duplication. Appellant begins, constructs majority of binder, including appeal book (trial record). Circulated. At the end, Respondent files complete eAppeal record. The result should be a fully linked electronic binder
The Protocol Jan 2012: Appellant contacts counsel: agree on contents of record and authorities March 2012: Appellant constructs and serves: Electronic Factum, record & authorities June 2012: Respondents & interveners append their factums, linking to record & authorities
Front End: The Technology Nothing commercially that suited needs Usually too robust/complex/designed for trial Opted for simple PDF format for several reasons: Technology already being used by counsel “Industry standard” – scalable, storable Inexpensive
Challenges Problem 1: Getting counsel to work together. Solution: Case management Problem 2: Formatting/inconsistencies in style. Solution: Oversight by court staff. Problem 3: Diverse sets of technical competencies. Solution: Allow some paper for those who need it.
Back End: Consultation Most judges unfamiliar with the technology – would require extensive training. But... would not work on appeal until the same month as the hearing. Records managers required improved infrastructure for receiving and storing eAppeal materials.
Back End: Rank/Compare Priorities Found that many court administration priorities could also be addressed: Ease of storage and management Integration with current practices Long term storage – is the electronic copy the “original” copy?
Rank/Compare Priorities Training. Graduated process of education – an initial seminar, follow-up private sessions. Judicial IT “on call” to deal with problems in the lead up to the appeal Receipt & Storage. Less of a priority. Will become more important as protocol is standardised.
Presentation: Consultation Both judges and counsel wanted simple courtroom layout to display of PDFs. Judges required separate workspace, wanted to be able to bring their annotated materials into the courtroom. Judges wanted to be able to annotate in the courtroom.
Presentation: Courtroom Layout Centered around a “presentation” source computer, controlled at lectern, with screens producing a mirror- image on bench and counsel tables. Counsel choose whether to use PC (with assistant/junior) or laptop on lectern as they present. Judges and other counsel have eAppeal binder on laptops for private viewing and annotating.