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Courts get funding to embed the tech change of the pandemic

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After long complaining of inadequate computer systems in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes will see an increase in government funding.

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Holmes last year told InQueensland the need for social distancing, and travel restrictions, had challenged the operation of the courts in a pandemic. A scramble to video conferencing and workarounds for electronic filing were needed just to continue with cases.

In the court’s annual report for 2019-20, tabled in State Parliament last week, Holmes again lamented the state of computer systems.

“The difficulties encountered during the pandemic have brought into sharp focus the shortcomings of the court’s filing and case management systems,” Holmes wrote, adding that e-filing had long been demanded.

Holmes said the Court of Appeal’s case management system was “not fit for purpose and is sorely in need of a replacement”. The jury administration system was on the verge of being replaced – “I am hopeful that by the time of next year’s report it will be unnecessary for me once again to identify its doubtful viability as an issue” – but there was still a lack of separation between the court’s systems and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s network.

In a statement, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said funding for upgrades had been set aside in the Budget handed down by Treasurer Cameron Dick in December.

“The Palaszczuk Government has invested $9.33 million for the upgrading of audio-visual capacity in the justice system,” Fentiman said.

“Importantly, this will support the resilient and innovative measures, especially in relation to video technology, implemented by the justice portfolio during COVID-19.”

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