Alberta Court of Appeal Goes Digital With New Case Management System
While the COVID-19 reality has forced many organizations and businesses to go digital – the Alberta Court of Appeal is now making itself more accessible by launching its new digital case management system. While the option to file documents will be optional until March 21, 2012 – after this date it will become mandatory unless a case management officer grants an exception. This new online portal has been welcomed by many lawyers in Alberta saying that it allows lawyers and those who are representing themselves to file and view documents electronically online. The pilot project commenced approximately a year ago with 30 participants from the bar and Alberta’s Crown office.
Lawyers have already pointed out that since they’ve started using the system, the amount of physical paper that is being used in these types of legal cases has reduced substantially. This also means less bulky paperwork to be carrying around to court. The best part is users can sign into their computers or laptop and have access to all their paperwork and records – making it far more convenient for lawyers on the go.
The Court of Appeal Case Management System (CAMS) is a case management system in its entirety that not only manages documents but also acts as a filing system which has automated many of the court’s procedures and allows lawyers to initiate appeals, file materials and pay court fees electronically. Once a user had been registered, they can access their electronic court file and review other information about their appeal as well as deadlines and hearing dates. CAMS took years to develop and was a very in-depth pilot project. There are still many modifications being made to the system as more and more registered users adopt this new case management system. CAMS is reported to have many online tutorials and other materials available within its interface – making it easier for new users to adopt this new system as they embark on this new digital revolution. In addition to making things more efficient, using CAMS also reduces costs to law firms and organizations such as legal aid given the less work involved in printing paper transcripts, book of authorities and other court documents. Because everything can be uploaded online and accessed online – it can reduce operational costs as well.
Chief Justice Catherine Fraser has mentioned in her online video that “Digitizing court records does not replace the physical and human element of the justice system – it enlarges our capacity and accessibility, it does not shrink it”.
This is a great step in the right direction for the legal system in Alberta. The province is now spear heading this digital transformation initiative which has been regarded as long overdue by the legal community in Alberta. Many other provinces haven’t even reached this far yet. This digital transformation is also a great way to provide better access to justice as we move towards a new normal of making it easier to pursue legal avenues online.