Age of digital justice in Ukraine or what lies ahead for participants of the legal procedure following implementation of UJITS

Age of digital justice in Ukraine or what lies ahead for participants of the legal procedure following implementation of UJITS

Age of digital justice in Ukraine or what lies ahead for participants of the legal procedure following implementation of UJITS

The judicial system of Ukraine is on the cusp of the real age of digital justice. Last year in December the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine announced the creation and maintenance of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System (UJITS) in all courts.

The System aims to facilitate access to justice, and provide effective and quick solutions to court cases. Drafts of regulations must be pre-approved by the High Council of Justice after mandatory consultations with the Council of Judges.

Nowadays the draft of regulations for UJITS by decision of the High Council of Justice is in finalization, but by the end of March of this year it shall be approved, and the system shall function. Yet now in many local general court and apellate courts the process of digital document management is ongoing, for example, case papers get scanned and uploaded to the automated document management system.

The idea of digital justice is implemented in many countries worldwide. Particularly, in the USA, there exists an electronic court system CM/EFC (Case Management/Electronic Case Files), which allows; filing claims, appeals, receiving court decisions, and participating in the judicial session in videoconference mode. Submission of documents to the court in paper form is free of charge, therefore, no court fees or state duties must be paid. In France, in criminal courts, also functions a similar system «E-huissiers», which allows participants of criminal proceedings to submit procedural documents to a court in electronic form. In Belgium, there also exists a system, «E-Justice», that provides an electronic exchange of case papers between courts of different instances. In Kazakhstan, functions a separate subsystem of an electronic court system, «Courtroom», that allows filing claims to the court of any instance, as well as receiving a copy of court decision with a barcode, as legally valid as court decision in paper form. The subsystem is a very convenient instrument and enjoys great popularity. Thus, statistic data of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan shows that in 2017 more than 80% of claims were submitted by the «Courtroom» subsystem .

What is ahead for participants of the legal procedure after implementation of UJITS?

Novelties, introduced by UJITS, are related, first of all, to participants (their representatives) and other participants of the process. Therefore, the system provides an opportunity to submit claims, appeals, or cassation appeal, as well as applications, petitions, or even to receive court decisions in electronic form. This system will create an opportunity for document exchange between participants of process and court, as well as between participants; and also an opportunity to participate in judicial session in videoconference mode. Also, participants of a process will be granted an opportunity to familiarize themselves with case papers in electronic form at any time remotely. All those opportunities will save time and money. Likewise, the court will direct legal notifications to participants of legal procedure to their official e-mail addresses. In turn, it will reduce the chances of delay of the process by an opponent. It`s also important that UJITS will maintain a centralized automated distribution of cases between judges, and local access will not be possible.

UJITS will also provide an opportunity to take legal action for the benefit of other persons. Therefore, an electronic court system user, by means of software, will generate a power of attorney to a representative by certifying it with your own digital signature. Such power of attorney grants a representative a right to compose, edit, and submit via the electronic court system relevant documents on the behalf of a grantor to a respective court. For attorneys there will be an opportunity to submit an electronic copy of a warrant, by certifying its accordance to an original with a digital signature.

What system is functioning now?

In all local and appellate courts, operation of the subsystem “Electronic сourt” began in test mode. This shall become a part of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System in future. However, the subsystem yet has limited functionality, though, it is already possible to pay court fees and generate over 400 procedural documents. Registration in the Electronic Court occurs via digital signature.

It is important to note, that via the Electronic Court it is already possible to pay court fees and file a claim to a respective court. For this purpose, the System has a section “Applications”. The section provides a step by step algorithm of actions. Particularly, first, you need to choose a court, then – input account details of a claimant, defendant, set a claim price (if it can be evaluated). The next step is filling the text of a claim. It is possible to upload a completed document or compose a claim by inputting text in a respective form. Then, annexes in PDF must be uploaded and attached to a claim. The interesting thing is that attorneys have an opportunity to upload a digital scan-copy of a warrant of provision of legal aid to confirm authority. Penultimate step is a payment of court fees. Fees are formed automatically based on a predefined claim price, however, there is an opportunity to set a different fee amount (in necessary). The last step is to sign the claim by electronic signature and submit it to court. In the following section, “My cases”, it is possible to track the movement of a case. In the system “Electronic Court”, in the “Messages” section, it is also possible to receive a summons to appear in court. In general, a subsystem “Electronic courts” makes a positive impression. The functions, which facilitate work and save time, are already implemented. Developers also need to solve an issue appearing during registration in the system, particularly during receiving a confirmation to the mailbox.

Implementation of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System is certainly the right decision on the way to improve a system of justice in Ukraine. Such an approach is innovative and progressive and complies with international standards implemented in many countries worldwide.

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