The OCJ is in the process of developing and implementing COURT ONLINE (an advanced cloud -based collaboration solution); that is aimed at providing a platform for Law Firms (LFs) / Litigants to file documents to the Courts electronically (E-Filing) over the Internet from anywhere. COURT ONLINE is an end-to-end E-Filing, Digital Case Management and Evidence Management system for the High Courts of South Africa. It provides Law Practitioners with the opportunity to file documentation electronically online anywhere and anytime without being physically present at court. It also affords Law Practitioners the ease of managing their court appearance diaries and court evidence instantaneously online.
COURT ONLINE aims to:
- Minimise the physical movement of people within the court buildings and thus immensely reduce the general office section queues.
- Minimise paper court documents from parties to the court
- Leverage the benefits of electronic storage that leads to faster document filing and retrieval, and in the process eradication of misplacement of court files,
- Concurrent easy access to view the same court file filed by different parties.
Within the Courts, the COURT ONLINE system will allow electronic documents to be automatically routed to the appropriate registrar clerk for processing. The system will also allow further routing within the courts e.g. for approvals by the Registrar and a reply is then sent out by the registrar clerk which is routed back to the originating LF/ Litigant. This shall enable realisations of improvements in efficiency by minimising paper flow to shorten case processing time. The process shall be fast, convenient and efficient.
For the LFs / Litigants, the COURT ONLINE system shall provide an electronic case file showing upcoming hearing dates and documents filed by them or served on them or any important notifications received from the Courts. It shall also provide an electronic platform for the exchange and sharing of documents with other LFs / parties. The Court Online system shall also allow for faster response as well as accurate and real time information. The other benefits of the COURT ONLINE system shall include the speedy inspection of documents electronically and the ability to request for and receive electronic extracts of documents via the Internet. Litigants shall also obtain details of hearing fixtures via Short Messaging System (SMS) or email using their mobile phones.
Within the court room and chambers, Judges shall make use of the COURT ONLINE system to adjudicate disputes electronically.
On the 10th January 2020 the Judge President Mlambo, issued a practice directive for the full implementation of the COURT ONLINE Evidence Management Application (CaseLines). The Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria and Johannesburg has implemented a digital/electronic case management and litigation system that was after the successful completion of the pilot phase of the system that commenced in Gauteng in the third (3rd) Term of 2019 and was extended to the end of the fourth (4th) Term of 2019.
The full implementation of the CaseLines digital/electronic system in Gauteng took effect from 27 January 2020.