Last updated 27 October 2000
= Required reading. All other links
indicate optional reading.
The objective of this topic is for you to understand the principal technologies
used in litigation, both from the perspective of the parties to litigation, and
from that of the Court and its workflow.
1.2. Overviews and brief history of Australian developments
1.3. General resources
The following resources provide information about many aspects of court technologies
and litigation support:
2. The main technologies for litigation support
The key technologies for litigation support and computerised courtrooms can be
grouped as follows:
The other factor that must always be kept in mind is the need to effectively integrate
these different technologies, so as to allow interconnections between different
categories of information used in litigation.
- Technologies for handling the transcript of a case while it is running
(and that of previous related cases). The same technology may be used to deal
with witness statements.
- Exhibit management technologies, particularly systems for classifying
exhibits, and document imaging systems.
- Presentation graphics to summarise and simplify the presentation
of evidence in Court (and in pre-trial negotiations).
- Court filing systems allowing Court process to be filed in electronic
form, thereby creating the possibility of completely computerised records
of the course of litigation, both pre-trial and (using the preceding three
technologies) during the trial. An 'electronic appeals book' then becomes
2.1 Examples of 'computerised courtrooms'
'Computerised courtrooms' are just implementations of the various technologies
relevant to litigation, either on a permanent basis for all matters heard in a
particular courtroom, or in a courtroom converted on a 'one off' basis for a trial
which will make heavy use of technology.
Courts administrations in Australia and elsewhere have been slow to implement
permanent computerised courtrooms, but this has now started to occur with at
least one courtroom in most Australian jurisdictions. Far more common to date
has been the courtroom fitted for the particular needs of a very large trial
/ inquest / royal commission, and then decommissioned once it is concluded (eg
the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Force).
The following papers discuss particular computerised courtrooms:
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Courtroom 21 at the College
of William & Mary and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), Virginia,
USA. This facility modestly claims to be 'The most technologically advanced
courtroom in the world'. Is it?
- Foo Chee Hock, Senior Deputy Registrar, Subordinate Courts, Singapore Judicial
in Information Technology Strategy (AIJA Technology for Justice Conference
- Justice Tim Smith, Supreme Court of Victoria and. Ian Chivers, Systematics
Pty Ltd The
Estate Mortgage Court System (AIJA Technology for Justice Conference 1998)
[see further papers on this courtroom below]
- Davidson and Warren http://www2.austlii.edu.au/cal/papers/davidson_warren.html
Using Internet Technologies To Facilitate Court Processes (1997) AustLII Law
via the Internet '97 Conference reports on the Gretley Colliery enquiry, one
of the first extensive tests in Australia of internet technologies for litigation
3. Computerised transcript
Greenleaf and Mowbray Chapter
4. Transcript - supplying 'clean water' in (1993) Information Technology
in Complex Criminal Trials  COL 1 - This Chapter describes the various
steps (and alternatives) in the use of transcript in litigation, from data capture
to retrieval software, and issues such as defence access in trials, and concludes:
The most important factor determining the extent to which computerised
retrieval of transcript will improve the conduct of complex trials is the timely
provision of transcript in a standardised form which can be used by as many
retrieval programs as possible. Second in importance in the informed choice
of retrieval software by prosecution, defence and the court, and the availability
of sufficient resources and training for each to make effective use of this
technology. Third in importance is the provision of courtroom facilities for
retrieval and display of transcript, whether or not real-time CAT is used. A
further factor of general importance is access by the defence to litigation
Have these factors changed since 1993?
3.1. Examples of transcript provision
4. Document imaging and exhibit management
Greenleaf and Mowbray Chapter
5. Exhibits and other documents - managing paper mountains in (1993) Information
Technology in Complex Criminal Trials  COL 1 - This Chapter describes
4.2. Additional reading
5. Presentation graphics
Greenleaf and Mowbray 7. Presentation graphics and summaries - simplifying complex
evidence n (1993) Information Technology in Complex Criminal Trials 
6. Court filing systems / electronic appeal books
6.1 Australian developments
- The Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand Electronic
Appeals Project (1998) is probably the most significant initiative to
come from the Courts themselves, and goes beyond technology used in the Courtroom
to the complete flow of a matter through the appeal process.
- Work on the project includes [The CCJ site was down at the time last checked]:
6.2 Overseas developments
- News Mexico State Judiciary Electronic
Filing System - An extensive trial is underway (presentation at AIJA Technology
for Justice Conference - not yet on web)