Reforming justice for the digital age

Reforming justice for the digital age

Related Themes: Digital technology, Justice

Reforming justice for the digital age, authored by the Police Foundation in collaboration with CGI, examines the costs and inefficiencies caused by a paper-based system and looks at how digitisation, collaborative working practices, and technologies such as intelligent automation and Blockchain offer opportunities to resolve many of the system’s historic challenges.

While technology has revolutionised service delivery in the private sector, the UK’s justice system remains wedded to archaic practices, paper-based working and legacy IT systems, resulting in inefficient services. These manual-heavy processes result in unnecessary duplication and increased margins of error.

Digitisation provides the opportunity to rebuild the processes of the justice system around the citizen. Pilot initiatives such as the digital case file and online plea submissions have begun to prove the concept in practice, showing how digitisation can increase access to justice while reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving quality.

Please read our article: Delivering Justice for the Digital Age

Key findings:

  • The justice system must reform in the face of shifting demands and constrained finances: cases are increasing in complexity at a time when the Crown Prosecution Service, the courts and the Ministry of Justice must implement significant spending cuts.
  • Digital working currently faces a number of challenges across the CJS, including the need to find new ways to digitise working and share responsibility across justice agencies; improve interoperability of justice systems and communication with legacy infrastructure; and ensure staff buy-in, cultural change and the development of digital skills.
  • The range of technologies and their potential applications for the criminal justice system is vast: digital platforms and online portals will empower citizens to reach support services faster, while increasing transparency. Greater use of automation could improve the speed and quality of completing tasks such as auditing casework, and in the future could even help to address issues such as subjective bias in judicial decision-making. Blockchain technologies could present a unique opportunity to increase accuracy and transparency through secure, auditable distributed records.