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  Scotland’s prosecuting authority, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), plans to replace the mountains of paper needed in many court cases with iPads, in a project being run jointly with Capgemini UK.



COPFS aims to improve support to its lawyers by providing easy and rapid access to the documentation required for cases, to improve efficiency and security, and to phase out the need for large piles of paper that sometimes require suitcases or even trolleys to be taken into the courtroom.

Consulting, technology and outsourcing firm Capgemini is helping to prove the validity of the new paperless approach in a pilot project under way in Falkirk, Perth and Lerwick. At this stage it is only proposed that tablet devices will be used in summary cases (pleading diets and intermediate diets). They will not be used in summary trials or any part of cases before a jury.

Catherine Dyer, Crown Agent and chief executive of COPFS, said: “We recognise the need for innovation and the use of new technologies. This latest development follows previous successful initiatives using modern technology such as texting of witnesses. Prosecutors recognise the need to maximise our efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. This pilot is expected to dramatically reduce the current need for huge amounts of paperwork, free up valuable staff time and further improve the security of our case information.”

If the pilot is successful, a national roll out will follow later in the year.

Capgemini has developed bespoke applications software customised to the needs of COPFS lawyers, using rapid design and visualisation techniques and working with COPFS lawyers to simultaneously capture requirements and map out the design of the new solution. Security is a key feature of the applications and technologies being provided by Capgemini, with the full solution being designed to protect access to, and the storage of, information held centrally and on the mobile devices.

Tim Brown, vice president at Capgemini UK, said: “With this exciting project, Scotland is blazing a trail that helps improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, cleverly combining trusted legal processes with technology innovation. This pilot really shows the value to lawyers of today’s mobile computer technology. We are confident that where Scotland is leading, others will soon follow.”

 
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