The Ministry of Justice has issued guidance for those working in the criminal justice system on ‘digital working’
The Ministry of Justice has issued two new guidance documents on digital working. The first, Legal Guidance on digital working across the Criminal Justice System, aims to provide guidance on the legal provisions that apply to working with digital materials and electronic methods of service in both the magistrates' court and Crown Court.
It aims to assist in the period of change from conventional working based on paper files, to full digital working. It is not intended to initiate any new digital business processes or signal any immediate extension of digital working. It includes a long list of limitations on digital working and emphasises that the guidance does not mean that practitioners can immediately 'switch off paper'.
The second document, Guidelines for digital working for Defence Practitioners, aims to encourage defence practitioners to match the CPS move to digital files with changes in their working practices.
All in all very positive moves. For those who want to be depressed, the Defence Practioners' document includes this wake-up call:
HM Courts & Tribunals Service is looking into options to provide secure WiFi at court. In the meantime, defence practitioners should access the internet beforehand or use their own 3G.
Defence practitioners should come to court with fully charged laptops. Court power supplies can be used to recharge as long as they are suitably located and can be used safely.