Barcelona sets up Spain’s first totally digitalised court
After a year of trials, Barcelona’s court of first instance number 37 will work only with computer files, eliminating the use of paper. The Catalan Government, in charge of managing the court’s offices in Catalonia, has developed an IT system that will enable court staff but also citizens to carry out every process in a faster and more efficient manner. The plan to develop the system began in 2006 and its development has had a cost of €5 million. The Government’s plan is that by 2019 every court in Catalonia will be fully digital.
Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona will have the first court in Catalonia and Spain, working only with digital documents, abandoning paper files and documents. After a one year trial, from next Monday, the Catalan capital\u2019s court of first instance number 37 will work without paper, aiming to save time, money, and paper. It will work with a new system called e-justicia.cat that will enable the court to issue official documents and share audiovisual records, graphic information and other documents. It will warn about deadlines to citizens, lawyers and court staff. Furthermore, it will enable citizens to file documents in court by using an electronic signature to certify their authenticity. Since the system uses free software, no licences will have to be paid and citizens will be able to upload documents from their home. It will also tell in which area of the judicial process the case is and will enable the parts involved to consult it at any time, always maintaining confidentiality. The new IT system has been developed by the Catalan Government, which is in charge of managing all the court offices and judicial clerk staff in Catalonia (judges and public prosecutors are managed from Madrid). It started to be developed in 2006 and has had a total cost of \u20AC5 million. The Government\u2019s plan is to gradually implement the system in the Catalan judicial administration. By 2019, all courts in Catalonia should be fully digitalised, abandoning paper documents.
The new IT system will completely ban the traditional brown cardboard files from court number 37 from next Monday. The Catalan Minister for Justice, Pilar Fernández Bozal presented the new system on Friday in Barcelona. Bozal emphasised that it was an \u201Cimportant day\u201D for the justice system\u2019s modernisation.
One of the milestones of the implementation of this system represents the unification of all Catalonia\u2019s judicial databases, with 24 million files and 178 million procedures. This will enable any file from any court in Catalonia to be found. It will also facilitate statistics. Another aspect that will ease the process is that 1,700 document types have been created, reducing the 420,000 different types of documents in place at the moment. The programme will also enable the court to coordinate its diary with other judicial agents, such as police, prosecutors, experts, and translators, or to book facilities, such as meetings, visitors, and videoconference rooms.
The Catalan Government\u2019s plan is to gradually implement the new system. In the rest of Barcelona\u2019s civil courts, files can be presented in a telematics. Pilot tests have been carried out in Olot and other Catalan towns. In Girona\u2019s courts, this procedure will be enabled from September and from January 1st next year, it will be allowed in all Catalan courts. In early 2013, full digitalisation could arrive to other courts in Barcelona, although it will depend on budget availability. And by 2019, all courts in Catalonia should be fully digitalised, abandoning paper documents.