The era of digital justice in Ukraine, or What to expect after the launching of the SJITS

The current judicial system of Ukraine at the threshold of a true era of digital justice. So, last December, the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine announced the creation and operation of a Single judicial information and telecommunication system (SJITS) in all courts, placing an appropriate advertisement in the newspaper “Holos Ukrainy”.

The functioning of the system is intended to simplify access to justice and ensure an effective resolution of lawsuits. According to the legislation, the draft SJITS provision is still to be approved by the High Council of Justice after mandatory consultation with the Council of Judges of Ukraine.

At the moment, the draft SJITS provisions are being finalized by the decision of the High Council of Justice, but by the end of March this year it has to be approved and the system has to work. And now, in many local general and appellate courts, an active process for the introduction of electronic document circulation is underway, in particular, litigation files are scanned and loaded into an automated document flow system.

In fact, the idea of ​​digital justice has already been implemented in many countries around the world. In particular, the United States of America has an electronic court system “CM / ECF” (Case Management / Electronic Case Files), through which you can file lawsuits, appeals, court decisions and participate in video conferencing sessions. Submission of documents in electronic form is free, that is, it’s not necessary to pay a court fee or any state fee. In France, a similar electronic court system is also used in criminal courts, called ‘’E-huissiers’’, which also provides the opportunity for parties in criminal proceedings to file court documents in electronic form. Belgium also has an “E-Justice” system, which provides for the electronic exchange of proceedings between courts of any levels. In the Republic of Kazakhstan there is a separate module of the electronic court system – the “Sudebnyy kabinet”, through which one can send a statement of claim to the court of any instance, as well as obtain a copy of the bar code decision, which will have the same legal force, which decision court in paper form. This module is a very useful tool and is very popular. Thus, the statistics of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan show that in 2017 more than 80% of the claims were filed using the module “Sudebnyy kabinet”.

 

What do the parties expect after the launch of the Single judicial information and telecommunication system?

The innovations that come with the SJITS relate, first of all, to the parties (their representatives) and other participants in the process. So the system will provide an opportunity to file a lawsuit, appeal or cassation appeal, as well as applications, petitions or even obtain court decisions in electronic form. It will be possible to exchange documents between the participant in the process and the court and between the parties themselves, as well as the opportunity to take part in the meeting in a video conferencing mode. Also, participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the case materials, electronically at any convenient time, remotely. All of this will save considerable time and money. Similarly, the court will refer the parties to their subpoenas on their official email addresses. This, in turn, will significantly reduce the chances of delaying the case by the opponent. It is also important that the SJITS will provide a central automatical selection of cases between judges, and local access to automatic selection will be impossible.

SJITS will also provide the opportunity to act in the interests of another person. Thus, the user of the electronic court system with the help of the software will be able to generate “electronic power of attorney” on the representative, having certified by its own electronic digital signature. Such power of attorney will give the representative the right to create, edit and submit all necessary documents to the relevant court through the electronic court system on behalf of the principal. For lawyers will be able to make an electronic copy of the order in the system, certifying its conformity with the original using its own electronic digital signature.

 

How is the system functioning now?

Currently, the “Electronic Court” module works in all courts of the first degree and appellate courts in the test mode, which will become a part of the Single Judicial Information and Telecommunication System in the future. Although this module still has limited functionality, it is already possible to generate more than 400 types of various procedural documents. Registration in the Electronic Court is made using an electronic digital signature.

It is important that with the help of the “Electronic Court” you can already pay court fees and file a lawsuit  the relevant court. To do this, there is a “Statement” section in the system. The section provides a step-by-step algorithm for action. In particular, it is first necessary to choose a court, then fill in the requisites of the plaintiff, defendant, to indicate the price of the claim (if the claim is subject to assessment). The next step is to fill out the text of the statement of claim. You can either download an already completed document or form an application by entering the text on the appropriate form. Next you need to download the attachments to the claim in pdf format. It is interesting that lawyers already have the opportunity to download an electronic scan copy of the legal aid order to confirm their credentials. The preceding step is the payment of a court fee. The cost of the collection is formed automatically, based on the price of the claim, which was previously indicated, but it is also possible to enter another amount of the fee (if necessary). The final step is to sign the application with digital signature and send it to court. In the “My Cases” section, you can track the status of each case. In the “Electronic Court” system, in the “Messages” section, you can also receive request for summons. In general, the module “Electronic Court” has a positive impression. Implemented features that can simplify work and save time. Developers also need to eliminate the delay that occurs during the registration process, including when receiving the corresponding confirmation on an e-mail account.

 

To summarize, the introduction of the Single judicial Information and telecommunication system is, of course, the right decision to improve the judicial system in Ukraine. This approach is innovative and progressive and complies with international standards that have already been implemented in many countries around the world.

 

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