NSW courts to get $8m document management system

Case documents in six New South Wales court jurisdictions will move to automatic processing when the implementation of an $8 million Web-based, integrated document management system starts this year.

The NSW Attorney General's Department, which administers the court system, will replace a 17-year-old Courtnet legacy system over the next 18 months with a document management and imaging platform, automating the courts' administrative processes.

Trevor Stacey, NSW director of IT services in the Attorney General's department, said existing legacy systems have "served well over the years", but it was time to replace "outdated technology, which could not be enhanced to leverage the Internet".

The Courts Administration System (CAS) contract was awarded to Sydney-based IT outsourcer Aspect Computing.

The solution will cover the Supreme, District and Local Courts (both civil and criminal processing) and will integrate these jurisdictions with the Sheriff's Office, according to Stacey. The Supreme Court will be the first jurisdiction to move to new system, which is expected to result in savings for the department by creating greater internal efficiencies.

"The NSW Court System will be world class in that court users will have access to reliable and timely information and be able to conduct court business, such as call-overs and document lodgement through the Internet," Stacey said. "Boundaries between [court] jurisdictions will become permeable with the flow of information across them, [reducing] cost for users and improving customer service through a more responsive courts system."

The CAS system will integrate with the existing CourtCase product by Coram Solutions.

Specifically, CAS will support a gamut of court processes including case registration, document lodging, listing of cases for hearing, in-court processing of judgement orders and outcomes, and enforcement procedures.

The solution will also integrate with accounting systems to provide management and operational reporting for the courts, according to Stacey.

Once live, the system "would enable court cases to be managed electronically", Aspect officials said. The system will also provide Internet access and electronic data transfer between the Attorney General's department and the agencies with which it needs to communicate, such as the Director of Public Prosecution, Corrective Services and the Department of Community Services, as well as agencies from the legal profession.

The department has some 3500 staff operating from more than 200 sites across NSW, and 39 business centres operating independently of each other, but organised along eight different programs to focus operations and planning. Some of those programs include Justice, policy and planning, court and tribunal services, commercial enterprises, legal and support services, and information and management.

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