Thursday, February 19, 2015

This and That in Court Tech – A Frozen February, 2015 Edition

Our regular compilation of news and notes regarding the world or court technology follows.  In this edition we note the new CTC 2015 topic survey, Pennsylvania online payments, password technology replacement, online dispute resolution recommendations in the UK, more on court related scamming activity, more AmCad fallout, and the ServeCon conference.


What do you want to see at CTC 2015?

Planning for this year's Court Technology Conference (CTC) is well under way, and we are working on building an outstanding education program. To this end, we need your input! A conference is only great if the content reflects the topics and concerns of the people most likely to attend.

Click here to take the survey.

Pennsylvania Courts Report a 23 percent Increase in Online Payments in 2014

Via AOPC press release on February 18, 2015:

“More than $77 million in traffic fines and other court-ordered fines, fees, costs and restitution was collected last year through PAePay, Pennsylvania court’s convenient online payment system, Justice J. Michael Eakin today announced.

“This is a 23 percent increase over online collections from the previous year, demonstrating that PAePay continues to be a convenient and expedient method of payment for people paying court-ordered fines, fees, costs and restitution,” said Justice Eakin.

During the past year, one in every $6 collected by Pennsylvania court’s judicial computer system was collected via PAePay. This is a substantial increase in online usage since PAePay’s inception in 2011, when one in every $17 was collected electronically.

Providing users with the ability to pay online complements our continuing efforts to improve access to the courts, reduce overhead costs and provide an online payment solution for courts of all sizes without having the burden of implementing and maintaining their own systems.

PAePay is used by courts in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.”  The web page link for PAePay is:

Passwords Riding into the Sunset

According to ZDnet article “Windows 10 will let you say goodbye to passwords forever”, “Microsoft is adding support for the Fast Identity Online (Fido) standard to Windows 10 to enable password-free sign-on for a number of applications.”

“"Transitioning away from passwords and to a stronger form of identity is one of the great challenges that we face in online computing," said Ingalls.

The Fido standards aim to create a "universal framework" for secure but password-free authentication. Fido supports biometrics such as face, voice, iris, and fingerprint or dongles, and members of the group include Samsung, Visa, PayPal, RSA, MasterCard, Google, Lenovo, ARM, and Bank of America as well as Microsoft.”

You can also read about details from Microsoft on this announcement here.

Report Recommends Online Dispute Resolution for UK courts

We learned from several sources that a report submitted by the UK Civil Justice Council Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Advisory Group titled, Online Dispute Resolution for Low Value Civil Claims (PDF download) was published this month.

The reports summary notes:

“Our principal recommendation is that HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) should establish a new, Internet-based court service, known as HM Online Court (HMOC). We recommend that HMOC should be a three-tier service.

2.2 Tier One of HMOC should provide Online Evaluation. This facility will help users with a grievance to classify and categorize their problem, to be aware of their rights and obligations, and to understand the options and remedies available to them.

2.3 Tier Two of HMOC should provide Online Facilitation. To bring a dispute to a speedy, fair conclusion without the involvement of judges, this service will provide online facilitators. Communicating via the Internet, these individuals will review papers and statements and help parties through mediation and negotiation. They will be supported where necessary, by telephone conferencing facilities. Additionally, there will be some automated negotiation, which are systems that help parties resolve their differences without the intervention of human experts.

2.4 Tier Three of HMOC should provide Online Judges – full-time and part-time members of the Judiciary who will decide suitable cases or parts of cases on an online basis, largely on the basis of papers submitted to them electronically as part of a structured process of online pleading. This process will again be supported, where necessary, by telephone conferencing facilities.

2.5 The establishment of HMOC will require two major innovations in the justice system of England and Wales. The first is that some judges should be trained and authorized to decide some cases (or aspects of some cases) on an online basis. The second innovation is that the state should formally fund and make available some online facilitation and online evaluation services.
2.6 To ensure the implementation of our principal recommendation, we propose three supporting recommendations:

  • that HMCTS introduces an ODR stream into its current programme for the reform of civil, family, and tribunal work, and allocates a modest fraction of its £75 million annual reform budget (over five years) for the establishment of HMOC;
  • that all political parties offer in-principle support for HMOC, as a viable way of increasing access to justice and reducing the cost of the resolution of civil disputes; an
  • that the Civil Justice Council invites the ODR Advisory Group to commence a new phase of work, collaborating with HMCTS and the Judiciary in formally piloting ODR, designing HMOC, and raising awareness of this new approach to the handling of civil disputes.”

The report also lists many ODR systems as examples in the US, Netherlands, Canada, UK, and Germany.  A recommended read.

More on Court Related Scams

Our good friend, Ms. Jenni Bergal of The Pew Charitable Trusts compiled an excellent article for their Stateline news service about frauds being foisted on citizens using court and law enforcement “credentials”.  Ms. Bergal lists scams that have been carried out in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington in her article.

AmCad CMS withdrawal Fall Out Continues

Thanks to Bill Raftery at Gavel to Gavel blog we heard news from the Oklahoma and Dallas Municipal courts about actions taken after AmCad withdrew from the case management systems business.

Dallas County judges’ verdict: New case-tracking software riddled with glitches

(Dallas) County asks for $1.8 million to complete controversial courts IT project

Oklahoma lawmakers move to pull funding from court information website

ServeCon 2015 Conference

Last, I will be participating in a panel as part of the online ServeCon 2015 conference, March 26-27 for the Process Service industry along with organizer Mark Schwartz of One Legal, Alan Carlson from Orange County, California Superior Court, Casey Kennedy from Texas Office of Court Administration, David Nill of Rapid Legal, Inc., and Snorri Ogata of Los Angeles County, California Superior Court.

The conference website is:

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