Thursday, December 7, 2017

Courts Implement New Online Search Systems

We learned this week about two new search systems being implemented by the state courts in Arkansas and Illinois.  More below…


Arkansas Courts Implement a New Online Opinion Publishing System

Recently, the Judiciary of the State of Arkansas recently upgraded the online publishing of their court opinions rendered by implementing Decisia by Lexum.  Decisia is a self-publishing solution enabling courts and agencies to organize legal decisions and make them available and easy to search on their own websites or intranets. There are approximately 75,000 official and unofficial opinions available on the Arkansas Judiciary website including Court of Appeal Opinions rendered since 1981 and Supreme Court opinions rendered since 1837.

Decisia was selected by the Arkansas judiciary for its intuitive search interface that both eases and speeds advanced legal research. Decisia drastically improves the usability of the opinions database by providing a uniform user interface designed specifically for legal research and including features such as full-text search, search filters, stemming, highlighting of hits, auto-completion, auto-correction, and much more.  From the point of view of the judicial administration, it also offers a flexible structure capable of adapting to the available metadata sets of each type of document.  Finally, Decisia’s auto-fill feature (automatically extracting metadata values from the body of opinions) greatly accelerates the publishing of new documents, thus facilitating the updating of the database.

Lexum is a software company that designs and operates online information delivery products.  It started existence as a research lab at the University of Montreal and became a privately-owned business after a spin-off in 2010.

Illinois Announces Re:SearchIL Project

Via press release on November 29, 2017

 “The Supreme Court’s May 30, 2017, Order on e-filing amended the January 2016 Order mandating civil e-filing in several respects. Among these is the implementation of re:SearchIL, which will provide an efficient way for attorneys, judges and other court users to access important case records and documents at any time and on any device. Re:SearchIL is a web-based portal that provides immediate and secure access to a consolidated database of case information upon registration. The solution provides a simple and consistent way to view and obtain case records and documents from counties across Illinois, and it integrates with multiple case management systems to share that information.

All Illinois courts that are integrated and filing through eFileIL are able to begin using re:SearchIL and make their documents available through the portal. The re:SearchIL application will provide many benefits to the Illinois courts and legal community, such as:

Increased transparency and accessibility through a single portal to a unified, centralized database
Simplified access across multiple counties, regardless of case management system
Reduction of printed documents needed by judges
Secure access from any device, including PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones.

Courts will be the first to benefit from the improved access to information available through re:SearchIL, with judges, clerks, and parties to a case able to access case information as courts become integrated. The online re:SearchIL application will provide judges with access to case records from all participating Illinois courts. Parties to a case will have access to their respective case records, and clerks will have access to case records in their jurisdiction. The Illinois Supreme Court anticipates expanding access to re:SearchIL to all non-party attorneys and the general public in a phased implementation as remote public access policies are developed.

Local courts will also have the ability to use re:SearchIL as a free local document management system should their local case management system (CMS) not provide archival space for electronic records or if it is too expensive to do so. In addition, value-added features in re:SearchIL will be offered to attorneys and the public on a subscription or transactional fee basis.

In order for re:SearchIL to be utilized as a remote public access system similar to the Federal court’s PACER, the Court will need to approve a remote public access policy (e-Access Policy), including authorization of statewide fees for users to access local court documents, as well as considerations for protecting personal and private information included in court documents. The revenue received from document access fees will be distributed to each local court where the information originated to assist courts in paying for the eFileIL and re:SearchIL interfaces and to encourage local courts to make their documents available to re:SearchIL."

Additional information regarding Tyler Technology’s related project announcement is available here.

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