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Criminal justice proceedings: bang up to date?

View profile for Casian Sala

Criminal justice proceedings: bang up to date?


Those of us keeping an eye on the way tech innovations are increasingly seen as being integral to the legal landscape have noted (with some relief) a recent letter from the Lord Chancellor.

Writing to the president of the Queen’s Bench Division (“Dear Brian…”) Chris Grayling has accepted in principle the entirety of Sir Brian Leveson’s proposals to increase efficiency in justice proceedings nationwide – particularly in criminal justice proceedings.

Published in January this year, Leveson’s review made wide-ranging recommendations regarding the criminal courts. Reflecting increasing imperatives to help cut the cost of litigation, and reduce waiting times, the review focused on a much greater use of IT. One particularly note-worthy recommendation would see a named individual taking responsibility for the conduct of cases in the criminal courts, including (one assumes) overseeing the cost-effectiveness and overall efficiency of proceedings.

Rightly wishing to see the implementation of the recommendations before legal tech takes another leap forward and the courts are left running to catch up, Grayling wrote that he is “keen to make rapid progress on those recommendations which can be delivered quickly.”

Key elements of the review include:

  • Improving case ownership, including by keeping the police and the CPS onside in discussions;

  • Ensuring the lead advocate in a case receives the Legal Aid Agency fee; and

  • Looking into the possibility of the ‘brigading of cases’ together where a firm or chambers has a number of cases in the same courts on the same day.

What are we to make of a review in which such recommendations sit firmly alongside imperatives to increase the use of IT innovations as part of the day-to-day running of the criminal justice system? As this blog has observed before, it’s heartening to see legal tech rolled into overarching policy on improving legal and court practices.

Where once tech innovations such as eDisclosure, eDiscovery and the use of digital bundles were seen as useful additions to daily practice – but very much the side dish to the main course (as it were) – they’re now being brought firmly into the mainstream.

As regulators and practitioners alike are increasingly pursuing the use of legal tech, we at Legastat remain ahead of the curve. Our professional litigation support services have been championing IT innovations for years, and we continue to seek out the latest developments in software. If you are looking to ensure your practice thrives competitively in a truly modern legal landscape, contact us now.