The Criminal Justice System Efficiency Programme is focusing time, money and resources into improving the efficiency of criminal proceedings by making full use of technology. The programme aims to remove the need for inefficient paper processes and to reduce duplication between the various agencies and individuals involved in proceedings.
The programme itself covers three main areas; Court Wi-Fi access, Digital Presentation and the Digital Case System (DCS) and here we focus on the Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS) which is due complete its rollout by 31 March 2016 following its successful pilot last year.
For Criminal defence practitioners, DCS, represents a significant challenge in how they work. Whislt the essentials of a case don't change how the case is communicated and worked on will change substantially and so it is important to be up and running with DCS as soon as possible even if their cases are not yet being run through DCS.
DCS is an online digital system which reduces the amount of paper flowing through the criminal justice system. Case material can be accessed, manipulated and presented digitally by the judge, clerk, defence, prosecution and probation. The prosecution, defence and HMCTS are all able to upload information into the application and those working in court digitally are able to access, navigate, annotate, and present their case.
The manipulation of bundles is simplified and bookmarks and notes can be created which allow, among other things:
There are a few basic requirements you will need to have sorted before you can begin to be able to access and use the DCS.
To access the DCS you will need to have an active CJSM account, this will mean you will either need to sign-up to CJSM Secure e-mail or make sure your CJSM account is active and you can send and receive CJSM Email.
If you need to sign-up to CJSM, go to http://www.cjsm.net and click on the "Apply Now" button.
If you already have a CJSM account, you will need to make sure you can send/receive Email through it and if you are having difficulties with that or your CJSM account has expired you will need to ask your local CJSM Administrator for assistance.
To access the DCS you will need to have Internet access which could be through a personal hotspot or you can sign up as to the Professional Court User Wi-fi (PCU Wi-fi) service. To apply for PCU Wi-fi you will need you CJSM email account from which you should send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
You will be informed by email when your account has been created and a second e-mail message with a system generated password and a link to set up your own password will follow on shortly afterwards.
DCS works on all internet browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari however if you have a very early version of Internet Explorer (IE) this may cause problems so you should update to the latest version available.
Before you can get started with DCS you will need to register to use it and you do this as follows:
Currently there are several training options for the Digital Court System
Once DCS is up and running drop in sessions and webinars will probably stop so it is advised to make use of these training options whilst they are running.
More details on the drop in sessions and webinars can be found on the Crown Court Digital Case System training news item.
Training for DCS is through an online environment which can be access through this link:
Click 'LogOn' located in the menu bar at the top of the web page and type your Email address and password associated with your DCS login. If you haven’t registered you can also do so from the home page.
For support in using DCS a dedicated service desk is available from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday (exc. public and bank holiday). The service desk will be able to help with issues and queries with matters recorded and managed by the Crown Court Digital Case System (CCDCS) Helpdesk and these will be resolved with support from the project team and CCDCS specialists.
To contact the service desk, Email CCDCSSupport@caselines.co.uk or call Helpdesk on 01236 687753.
The digital courtroom is upon us, it’s only a matter of time before the economic advantages are adopted by others areas of law. Are the days of the 'Pink' ribbon sadly but surely numbered or will this new system create the need to print off more paper in order to view court documents, only time will tell.
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