AN OVERVIEW OF THE SYSTEM
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.
The COURT ONLINE system will be limited to the Civil Court proceedings covering the following matters:
- Judicial Case Management
- Civil and Criminal Appeals
- Commercial Court
- Default Judgements;
- Divorce Actions
- Leave to Appeal
- Opposed Motions
- Ordinary Civil Trials
- Rule 43 Applications
- Special Civil Trials
- Special Motions/ 3rd Court
- Summary Judgement Applications
- Trial Interlocutory Applications
- Unopposed Motion
COURT ONLINE COMPONENTS
The Front-End (FE) portal accessed via the Internet from each ‘Court Online system registered Law Firm’s computer or mobile device.
Workflow Application that resides on Courts’ computers and caters for the internal routing and workflow processes within the courts
The Case Management Application that resides on Courts’ computers and caters for finalizing the case registration process, generation of the case number, further processing of matters through all its stages and real time monitoring of the court’s overall progress in finalizing matters.
Hearing Application to set matters down and generating court rolls.
An Evidence Management Application that is used to conduct hearings electronically.
SMS and Email Gateway to pass key information between the court and the litigants.