The District Court wishes to inform its customers of change to the way District Court will conduct its business in the civil jurisdiction of the Court.
The Department of the Attorney General has developed an IT strategy to implement an eCourt plan in WA courts. The District Court has been selected as a pilot court to introduce an eLodgment and eCourt environment in it civil jurisdiction. At the present time, the District Court has a limited capacity for eLodgment but it is contemplated that by 1 July 2016 this will be expanded to enable the filing of all District Court documents through a public portal for registered users. Over a relatively short period it is contemplated that this will lead to the Court, in its civil jurisdiction, have only electronic (that is paperless) files.
We anticipate that the eLodgment system will provide substantial benefits to the profession by enabling documents to be filed 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Further, the system will provide registered users an extensive electronic search facility. Law firms will benefit from not having to employ staff to attend the Court for the filing of documents and for conducting searches.
The benefits to the Court are expected to also be substantial, providing efficiencies in handling Court files and also substantially reducing storage costs as the Court, over a period of time, converts to a paperless Court.
It is not anticipated that the implementation of the eCourt plan will materially affect the manner in which trials and hearings are conducted in the Court. It is anticipated that many judicial officers will print out from the electronic file documents such as Papers for the Judge, written submissions etc. As to how exhibits will be dealt with during a trial or hearing will be decided by the judicial officer conducting the matter.
This letter is meant to be part of a preliminary alert to the profession as to the major changes that will be introduced. Prior to 1 July 2016 it is proposed that further details will be provided to the profession and educational sessions conducted by the Court.