Are Paperless Courts the Future for the Legal Sector?


As the legal sector continues to adopt new technologies such as smart-phones, tablet devices and cloud computing technologies, the affects may be heralding a revolution within the courts.

In a December 2011 article, The Guardian discussed the possibility of a move towards a paperless court. The article outlines the scheme entitled “Transforming through Technology” which will involve the Courts and Tribunals Service across England and Wales, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in addition to other criminal justice agencies. The scheme hopes to see Judges, jurors and barristers replace their traditional bundles of paper with tablet devices in an attempt to create a paperless court. Under the scheme tablet devices such as iPads will contain all the evidence and documentation needed to conduct a hearing so eventually courts can operate without paper.

Commenting on the scheme Quinton Newcomb, a barrister from the south-western circuit of the Bar Council, stated “the move towards the increased use of digital documents is an inevitable one and one which it seems that the technology is now ready for.”

In addition to tablet devices cloud computing technologies are also assisting in the move towards a paperless court. In the recent case between billionaires Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich, the use of cloud computing technologies is reported to have saved an estimated five million sheets of paper.

If recent developments are any indication, then paperless courts could be the future for the legal sector. Do you believe the courts could operate without paper?