These past few years have seen unprecedented efforts by governments to find new ways of delivering the services and programs that their communities rely upon in a world that has faced the new realities of remotely connecting with the public.  Today, like never before, there is an urgent need for governments to build agility and resilience into their programs to help respond to the impacts of this global pandemic.  

With an ever-increasing caseload and a new demand for enabling virtual proceedings, Canada’s court systems are leveraging innovative digital solutions to unlock new capabilities, boost efficiencies and democratize justice proceedings. This accelerated modernization has transformed the way public safety and justice organizations engage with their communities and ensure the continuity of service. And with the rapid pace of global digital transformation, our court systems cannot afford to slow down. 

The future of court proceedings is virtual, and we are working closely with our partners to create justice solutions that help people make better, data-informed decisions and deliver trusted outcomes that increase safety, accountability and transparency within communities. 

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Digitizing case management  

Court systems are burdened by new and long-standing challenges, such as a heavy reliance on rigid and time-consuming paper-based processes and procedures. Digital case management is facilitating faster, more secure access to documents. As a result, it is also empowering courts to enable remote processes, provide dashboards for judges and other officials to track proceedings and perform analytics on all court-related data to generate insights.  

Secure electronic documentation also eliminates the cost, effort, and inefficiency of producing, transporting, and storing paper. And, importantly, reduces accidental or intentional data tampering, which can lead to financial and reputational consequences.  

Streamlining trials 

Beyond enabling continuity of operations during the pandemic, the impact of a virtual courtroom can be felt throughout the entire judicial process as the pace and quality of justice improve. Virtual attendance has solved some longstanding issues associated with in-person court appearances. Police officers, for example, often need to provide testimony, but the time that they put into travelling to and from the courthouse reduces their time spent engaging with citizens and on patrol in communities. Other witnesses have struggled with finding childcare and transportation. 

With trials conducted through Microsoft Teams video conferencing, hearings are not limited to court room availability, and it is easier to obtain witness testimony. In addition, live translation and transcription with Teams and Azure Cognitive Services can improve and expedite transparency and accessibility for those involved.  

Virtual trials also eliminate the cost and security risk associated with transporting detainees to hearings and trials, and prisons can hold virtual visits between inmates and visitors. 

Ensuring fairness and equity 

Judges want to ensure their decisions are fair and based on the foundations of law and prescribed, measured sentencing. Access to data analytics can help judges make fair and just decisions based on the foundations of law. Judges can draw on insights from similar cases to ensure that penalties align with modern ethical expectations, while data from specialty courts can enable more rehabilitative behavior and address problems at their root. 

Leveraging data to inform sentencing can help ensure defendants receive effective and appropriate sentences. Judges can confidently apply the correct penalties, knowing that they are backed by data.

Complete case management solution 

At Microsoft, we are committed to working with our partners, like E Lex Ratio who has worked with courts in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, to fuel innovative solutions that empower courts to modernize operations and better serve local communities. Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Power Platform, E Lex Ratio Brief is a complete case management app that covers all aspects of the court process: from initiation and e-filing court data to finalization and publication of judgments. As a fully managed service, this end-to-end solution has been designed to maximize of low code, no code solutions once implemented and can be rapidly configured to any jurisdiction’s approach.  

Learn more about the future of court operations and the partners who bring it together to modernize court systems: Public Safety and Justice Solutions | Microsoft Industry