Each year, Victoria’s Magistrates’ Court and Children’s Court manages between more than 300,000 cases – resulting in the vast majority of criminal convictions in the state.
Those cases are becoming greater in number and complexity every year. LatestCrime Statistics Agency figures show that from 2015 to 2019 there was an increase of 12.5 per cent in recorded criminal incidents, and an increase of almost 50 per cent in family incidents.
The Courts’ current case management systems meet the scope of which they were originally developed – but that was 30 years ago. The systems “present significant barriers to meeting service expectations and handling the growing demand in the two courts” Court Services Victoria (CSV) said.
“The Court’s existing case management systems stand in the way of enhancing services and mean that magistrates, staff and court users are reliant on obsolete technology each day,” explained president of the Children’s Court of Victoria, Judge Amanda Chambers.
In 2017, CSV began a project to overhaul the two CMS systems, and today announced the beginning of the implementation phase.
It has selected Journal Technologies to implement the $89.2 million CMS project, following a detailed open market three-stage procurement process and comprehensive evaluation, CVS announced today.
The US company – which is currently implementing an electronic court management system for the Courts Administration Authority of South Australia – will relocate a team to Melbourne to join Court Services Victoria’s project group.
Piloting and incremental roll out of the new system is expected to commence in the middle of 2021.
The new CMS will serve as a one-point of entry for all cases across the two courts. It aims to make court processes faster, through minimising manual practices and moving some court processes online.As a result, the system will streamline how the courts capture and record data, reduce the reliance on paper, and link people to cases to “provide a holistic view of a court case”.
It will also support greater integration and connectivity for the state’s justice system, and improve the ability to capture and share appropriate critical information in individual cases across jurisdictions and courts, and with external parties.
This element of the system contributes to the Courts’ response to a number of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations, particularly better information sharing of individual cases of family violence across the Courts and external partners including Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“This is a significant project as the new system will be a key part of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria’s ongoing business transformation as it strives to modernise and provide a greater level of customer service to court users,” said chief magistrate of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Judge Peter Lauritsen.
Funding for the project is drawn from the Victorian Government’s $1.9 billion package to address family violence, which aims to bring enhanced access to justice for Victorians, through stronger information sharing and improved court processes.