The South London Legal Partnership (SLLP) has joined forces with suppliers to develop an entirely digital process for care proceedings.
SLLP – the four-borough shared legal service for Merton, Richmond, Kingston and Sutton Councils – worked with eBundling supplier Zylpha and electronic data specialist Project Fusion to develop the solution, known as 'Digital Courtrooms'.
A pilot launched earlier this year saw more than 60 cases heard without paper bundles at West London Family Court. The system will officially go live on 4 January 2016.
The new process is expected to increase efficiency, streamline systems and significantly reduce costs for local authorities and HMCTS.
A second pilot has been started at Croydon Family Court and SLLP is assisting with the roll out of Digital Courtrooms across all other family courts in London.
Paul Phelan, Legal Practice Manager at SLLP, said: “We expect to make a saving of about 60% on our photocopying, delivery, stationery and storage costs. As important as the cost savings are, we are also delighted that security has improved and the process is more efficient and increases accuracy. Put simply Digital Courtrooms makes life easier for all parties who are involved.”
Paul Evans, Assistant Director of Corporate Governance who leads the SLLP, added: “This is an excellent example of how good partnership working can really make significant change quickly with very limited resources. We are all under pressure to think about new ways of working and utilising technology to drive down our costs and increase efficiency.”
John Baker, Justices' Clerk for the family courts in London, said: “I have been really impressed by how everyone has worked together to find a local solution that provides added value and reduces cost. The feedback from Magistrates, Judges and court staff has been increasingly positive and any teething troubles that were identified have been overcome.
“Even those who were sceptical at the outset are now enthusiastic converts. Plans are in place to replicate the process in West London across many other parts of the capital.”