LAWYERS will be able to argue their cases with the click of a mouse after a new court initiative announced by the NSW state government this week.
Busy local courthouses will be hooked up to a revolutionary online computer system, increasing efficiency and ensuring "swift justice", Attorney General John Hatzistergos has announced.
This month, 55 of the State’s largest local courthouses will be given access to the new JusticeLink system, and will automatically share details on all criminal matters with other justice agencies and higher courts.
In some higher courts, prosecutors and defence lawyers have the ability to log into a JusticeLink bulletin board, where they type their arguments. The judge is alerted to their posts by email and then logs in to make determinations.
“Magistrates and registry staff working in local courthouses across NSW process hundreds of cases everyday,” said Hatzistergos.??“Despite having the heaviest workload in Australia, the Local Court of NSW has the lowest backlog, according to the Productivity Commission."
“To ensure that criminals continue to be brought to justice in a timely manner, and to reduce the chance of clerical error, it is important that information about court cases be shared between agencies electronically."
In 2008, more than 280,000 criminal matters were finalised in NSW local courts.??Hatzistergos said as part of JusticeLink, court attendance notices will be downloaded from the police to the courts on an hourly basis, while the outcomes of court proceedings are transferred back to police twice daily.
Local courts will also electronically share case files with the District and Supreme courts, which have already been connected to the system.??Hatzistergos said that while all substantial proceedings and trials continue to be conducted in courtrooms, JusticeLink had reduced the need for some basic procedural matters to be heard in court.
In coming weeks electronic information about fines and traffic offences will be instantly available to the courts, the Roads and Traffic Authority and the State Debt Recovery Office. Another 70 regional courthouses will be connected to JusticeLink in coming months.