Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One of my projects right now is to think about IT in courts in 2020. The Dutch judiciary is doing some brain storming on the future, and this will be input for some of the sessions. In 2002, we made some projections about court IT in 2008. So I started out by revisiting our 2002 projections for 2008 to see what had been realized. Workplace on line access to sources of legal information (jurisprudence, laws and legislation history) for judges and court staff, and nationwide coordination the case load of large criminal cases are both a reality in 2008. The plan for a single case registration system? Nope! Practically all the other projections depended on the new case registration system being in place, so the list of successes is short.
Dutch courts are not at the forefront of IT development in Europe, according to the latest report from CEPEJ. The Commission Européenne pour l'Efficacité de la Justice has gathered information about court operations since 2002. The results show how a few countries have actually managed to leverage IT to transform their court processes: the UK, Finland and Austria are examples. The second echelon are able to use the Internet for informal email and for finding information, but not to interact with court users. Interaction would require changes in processes that are hard to achieve. Right now, we can only speculate about the reasons: formal legal requirements (can they be deformalized?), security needs (is that high security level really necessary?), lack of experience with electronic information processing (do we need more experimentation?). And most importantly: how can we learn from the others?
Keep watching this space, these issues will be explored here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Reviving this blog was one of my resolutions. Long overdue, but now finally realized. This blog will share discoveries and some results of my ongoing research.

A lot has happened since that lonely blog was uploaded in 2003.

Early in 2004, I moved to the U.S. when the World Bank hired me as a senior judicial reform expert. My main tasks were sharing my experience as IT program manager and Information Manager for the Netherlands judiciary, in projects, training and knowledge generation. In 2007, I came back to the Netherlands. Supported by the Netherlands Judicial Council, and building on all that experience, I am presently working on a doctoral dissertation on information technology and judicial reform. Sharing my experience has always been a great pleasure.

This blog will share some of the vast amount of stuff I learned during all those extremely interesting years, as well as newly emerging insights.