Friday, October 19, 2018

Electronic Archives and Microfilm

While Block Chain, AI, and GDPR are new and exciting, sometimes we need to talk about older technology.  Most of it is paper which has its own set of challenges.  But microfilm has been the court archiving standard since at least the 1950’s in many jurisdictions.  Should it still be used?  If so, can it be made more useful?  We discuss below.

Monday, October 8, 2018

2018 NCSC Viz-A-Thon Winners Announced

The 2018 NCSC Viz-A-Thon was held last week, and the winners were announced.  The Viz-A-Thon sought to find solutions to the complex court organizational charts that are part of the State Court Organization website.

“The judges were impressed with each of the Finalists. All the solutions thoughtfully explored the structure charts and considered users who need to investigate and explore the structures to understand the courts and guide research and decision making. The solutions were refreshing and creative and demonstrated that the participants thought about the data and the complicated “story” of state court structures.”

The winning team was “Team Bosphorus: Gunhan Pikdoken, Bahadir Cankardes, Emre K. Ar, Şuayip Ekmekci” who presented their solutions from Istanbul, Turkey.

The judges were impressed with the beautiful display that used white space well and easily allowed users to explore the similarities and differences of the state courts. The solution was a full-stack development using D3 and Vue. Team Bosphorus’s experience with UI and UX best practices was clear.”

You can see and test their working solution, along with those of the second and third place teams on the Viz-A-Thon website at:

Congratulations to all for great work and event.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Video Conferencing Technology in Pretrial Services

My NCSC colleague, Ms. Jannet Lewis has published an excellent case study on the use of secure video conferencing technology to assist in improving video conferencing communication in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, Polk County, Florida.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

This and That in Court Tech – September 2018

eCourts Conference

News on the eCourts 2018 conference, a new ODR pilot for small claims cases in Utah, security problems with the website, the IBM Watson AI based closed captioning system, and the UK Metropolitan Police developed mobile fingerprint system.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Smart Phones as Document Scanners for E-Filing

DIY iPhone Document Scanner

We received a question the other day about how to facilitate document/evidence E-filing?  And we first wrote about the use of smartphones for document capture back in 2014.  But after reviewing the article, it is time for an update.

Leveraging the Court Component Model to Connect Business and Technology

Our friends with the IJIS Institute Courts Advisory Committee have developed a web-based tool to help court practitioners find information about technology vendors and products that align with the Court Component Model.  Jenny Bunch of ImageSoft shared the following write-up on behalf of the IJIS Courts Advisory Committee . . . 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

NCSC Announces Viz-a-thon Competition

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is hosting a virtual, multi-week contest to create a supportable, interactive, data visualization of the state court structure charts.  The Grand Prize for the winning entry is $5,000 USD and Runners-up will receive prizes totaling $3,500 USD.

More below...

Friday, August 24, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – August 2018

In this edition, we share news about eCourts 2018 conference, law enforcement body cameras, the 25th anniversary of PDF, and microfilm to digital conversion technology to write up while the software is installing on my new laptop. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Court Case Management Systems Part 20: User Interface (UI) and More

In this long-delayed edition in the Court Case Management Systems (CCMS) series, we will discuss some thoughts on user interfaces (UI) for court systems.  It is an exciting time to explore this area because the technology is developing quickly, and there are many new possibilities for developers to consider.  And because of all the new developments, this article has been delayed many times.

But it is summer time and so it is time to dive in...

Note: Previous work by our colleagues at the NCSC and other experts provides the list of functionality (the what). This CCMS series has been our attempt to describe “how” technologies have been and could be used in the courts.  

Click here for the previous posts in this series.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

North Carolina AOC Issues ICMS RFP

As part of the long-term eCourts vision, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is seeking to procure a statewide ICMS. We request that all interested parties respond to the inquiries contained within this RFP by submitting a response by September 25, 2018.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Industry Summit, September 17-18, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Florida

We received the following conference announcement today.

The annual Industry Summit is an opportunity for industry technology leaders to engage in free-flowing discussion with leaders of COSCA, NACM, and CITOC, and representatives from the IJIS Institute, NCSC, and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.  The objective of this two-day event is to provide the industry with insights into the current and emerging technology needs of the courts over the next two to six years.  Working side by side, court and industry technology leaders will identify business problems, brainstorm opportunities, and chart a course for future court technology.

Details below...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This and That in Court Tech – July 2018

Animal rescue at Rancho Del Sueno

We share news from California, a private court records access company, a huge report of technology projects from the Ohio state courts, and a commentary regarding a court in Michigan losing 3.6 million paper documents.

Monday, July 16, 2018

E-Filing Used for Theft and Some Remediation Ideas

Thanks to a message via ImageSoft, we learned of a Florida Bar News article describing how a law office manager used the system to “file papers in a foreclosure case” and then took $130,000 that was “left over after the foreclosure sale”.  We discuss the actions taken by the E-Filing Authority and more below…

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Changing Frameworks – The Court Component Model and Agile Approaches

Graphic courtesy of Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology article "Component
As promised in the recent post introducing the Court Component Model (CCM), some of our NCSC colleagues and partners will be sharing their perspectives on the CCM and ways it can be applied in real-world projects.

NCSC's very own Barb Holmes shares the following on her experiences working in the Pennsylvania Courts and how they combined a component-based approach with agile methods to tackle complex business problems and ever-changing requirements.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Lessons on Court Public Access

Margaret Hagan, Director of the Legal Design Lab at Stanford University, posted a terrific article that summarizes the results of their policy lab course this spring on “Community-Led System Design Practice”.  The entire article is enlightening.  I will highlight some findings I found particularly interesting below.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Court Component Model - A Modular Approach to Court Applications

You've likely already heard about the Court Component Model (CCM). If not, please take a look at this JTC Resource Bulletin. It provides a great introduction to the model.

The Court Component Model has garnered much attention in recent months from courts and solution providers alike. It provides a relatively simple way of looking at logical groupings of functional capabilities specific to a court business function. Each grouping of capabilities can be implemented as a component that operates independently of other components but integrates with them via well-defined, standards-based interfaces.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A “Fiscal New Year Eve” Purchase Suggestion

There are only a couple of days left in many of our court’s fiscal year budgets.  So, for IT departments that sometimes mean a small "spending spree" to use the allocated funds.  I would like to suggest a small purchase that will benefit your computer video/audio communications setup.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – June 2018

News about a national list of self-help court and public websites, lots of news about the upcoming E-Courts Conference, and tips for dealing with your email inbox.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Deleting Court Data

Recently I shared my opinion on a conference call that court IT systems (CMS/EDMS/E-filing) should not allow deletion of any data.  I explain below.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

JTC Technology Update Webinar

The next National Association for Court Management webinar will be an update on the projects of the Joint Technology Committee. 

Court Administrators and Joint Technology Committee Co-chairs David Slayton and Kevin Bowling will give an update on the committee’s projects which include blockchain technology, cyber-security, redaction and many more.  These types of projects tend to set the agenda for court technology in the US for the next 5 years. 

The presentation will be made on Thursday, July 12, 2018, from 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM EDT

Friday, June 1, 2018

Digital Evidence Collection Standards

In the “missed an announcement in December category”, the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) released federated testing tools that are “designed to help law enforcement and forensic practitioners”…”in making a copy of the data from a seized electronic device”.

Since courts deal with evidence, we need to discuss this below…

Thursday, May 24, 2018

This and That in Court Technology, May 2018

This month we learn about PatentBot, the new Oasis-Open LegalRuleML specification, some interesting thoughts on how to better replicate litigation service systems, Microsoft Research podcasts and free E-books, Oracle’s chatbot demonstration system, Notepad ++, and some graduation gift ideas.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Answering the Phone, with AI

I have often said that one of my goals in court automation was to be able to enable courts to “answer the phone”.  Many years ago, I was called by an elected clerk of court from a large metropolitan county.  Unfortunately, they did not leave a direct telephone number but rather, their general office number.  I tried to return the call and their automated answering system put me on hold.  I thought it was an important call to try to return and waited for over a half-hour.  Their system then disconnected me.  Frustration for me but it would have been worse to have business with this office.  So, when I saw the Google Duplex AI System demo, I became very interested.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Names are Complicated

For court systems, who must deal with persons from all the wonderful cultures from around the world, as well as corporations and other legal entities, how names are captured and displayed in the case and document management systems can be a challenge.  We discuss below.

Friday, May 4, 2018

US Federal Court PACER Fees Litigation Decision Discussed

US District Court - Great Falls, Montana

We haven’t commented on the news from late March 2018 on the decision regarding the US Federal Court’s use of the fees collected for their PACER public records access systems.  We share some of our thoughts below.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law

We are pleased to share the announcement of the eCourts 2018 conference keynote session.

University of Tennessee Law Professor Benjamin H. Barton will expand on the ideas in his and co-author Stephanos Bibas's 2017 book Rebooting Justice. They argue that our laws are too complex and legal advice too expensive. Both are obstacles for the poor and even middle-class Americans to get help and protect their rights.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Automated Decisions Need Supervision

Writing this post I find myself traveling home a day late due to a computer decision.  My "tale of woe" began last night when I presented myself at my connection gate, with 12 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.  I was informed that my reservation had been canceled, by the airline computer.  This was done despite my instructions at my trip originating airport to keep my original reservations/plans and, I was given a printed ticket. What does this have to do with court automation… I will explain below.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

When Might Blockchain Appear in Your Court?

Magistrates Court, Nassau, The Bahamas

Guest bloggers and NCSC colleagues Di Graski & Paul Embley wrote the following for the COSCA/NACM Joint Technology Committee Trends series.  We are proud to present it here in the CTB this week.

Trends Statement:

The verifiable integrity of Blockchain records, linked and secured using cryptography, could soon be used in a variety of innovative ways to resolve court recordkeeping challenges. At the same time, Blockchain presents new legal issues that courts must be prepared to address.

Friday, April 6, 2018

UK Small Claims Online System Updated

We learned in a press release that our favorite and the original, small claims system for the UK Courts have been updated.  The press release is titled: "Quicker way to resolve claim disputes launched online: A new online service to make it quicker and easier for people to claim money owed, resolve disputes out of court and access mediation has gone live."

The new service is available at:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Graphical Association for Scheduling

Some of our long-time readers may notice that I am a fan of graphical displays to help to connect information and make things easier to understand.  And you might also remember that I have been testing the X.AI artificial intelligence scheduling assistant, Amy Ingram (but I found they also have Andrew).  This week I learned that they are testing a graphical reporting tool for their scheduling system.  Cool, I thought. More below...

Friday, March 23, 2018

More This and That in Court Tech – March 2018

This edition contains a Judge’s response on court automation project criticism, Google Plus Addresses, a lawsuit between judges and clerk regarding their electronic document system implementation, editing PDF documents, the Indiana court’s E-filing implementation web page, and the new NCSC home page is announced.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How Courts Can Use Reminders to Reduce Failure to Appear

Franklin County, Kansas Courthouse

Our guest blogger this week is Mr. Ibrahim Aissam, Chief Technology Officer from  He explains the benefits to courts of sending reminders:

Courts and justice agencies around the country struggle with reducing failure-to-appear rates. Although there will probably never be a fail-proof solution to have a 100% appearance rate, technology can certainly help. It’s hard to believe that something as simple as text message reminders consistently reduces FTAs. Sometimes, people just need a nudge to go to court. The following are a few tips for any court considering or planning a reminder program, regardless of the technology used:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Court Document Verification in Brazil

The Supreme Court of Brazil

Last week I had the great honor of speaking with a very distinguished group of judges and lawyers from Brazil here at the NCSC. 

While I was preparing for the visit I found an order from one of the Federal Judges.  While reviewing it I found several very interesting ways that they are dealing with the electronic document verification in their courts.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – Early March, 2018

Lady Justice - Supreme Court of Nigeria

This month’s edition we share posts regarding the Court Messaging Project, elimination of paper submissions at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, another good online traffic case dispute resolution story, Code for America CourtBot, Massachusetts Trial Courts eliminating court reporters, and links to the Global Legal Hackathon.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Registration for eCourts 2018 is open!

The day has come: Registration for eCourts 2018 is open. Register today to book at our lowest rate during Bonus Play.

eCourts is NCSC’s premium education conference where we focus on the hottest court management topics driven by the latest trends in technology. eCourts is the right conference for those seeking an immersive learning experience.

We are also launching our new eCourts website. We’ll be updating the site with conference information as we get closer. Bookmark the site today and follow NCSC on Twitter or Facebook, for all the latest.

(And in case you missed it, we’re taking your session proposals until March 9.) 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

E-Courts 2018 Call for Proposals

E-Courts 2018 will take place at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, December 10-12 and will provide opportunities to learn about practical applications of technology and innovations that may impact courts. This year we are reaching out to the community for session ideas to energize teams of administrators, technologists, and judges attending NCSC’s signature conference this year.

Technology, Borders and the Law

An excellent and thought-provoking post by Amy L. Howe on her blog discusses the current case before the Supreme Court of the United States regarding law enforcement warrant based access to Microsoft E-mail stored overseas in Ireland.

This is but one example of a huge issue facing the law and courts as technology makes national borders increasingly meaningless.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Georgia Supreme Court Issues New Rule on Recording Devices

Issued by the Georgia Supreme Court on February 6, 2018:

"The following order was passed:

It is ordered that Uniform Superior Court Rule 22, which relates to the use of electronic devices in courtrooms and recording of judicial proceedings by representatives of the news media and other persons, be amended. The amended Rule 22, which is the product of several years of study and discussion by the Council of Superior Court Judges, this Court, and numerous organizations that provided written and oral comments on proposed rule drafts, replaces the existing Rule 22 in its entirety.  The amended rule continues to implement OCGA § 15-1-10.1 but is updated to reflect developments over the last two decades in recording technology, in the news media, and, most significantly, in recording devices – namely, the smart phones and other mobile computers with recording capabilities that today are routinely carried and used by most people in this state.  The amended Rule 22 will take effect on May 1,2018, and reads as follows:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Social Media and the Courts Policy Reviewed & Some Sad News

The Vermont Courts are considering new rules for use of social media in their courts.  I am a great fan of the work of retired Supreme Court Justice John Dooley and his participation in this work had me take notice  (btw, Justice Dooley gave the keynote speech at the first E-Courts Conference).  Also, since we are on the subject, we share some information from our NCSC Social Media and the Courts Network website.  And last, we received some sad news this week on the passing of court technology pioneer, Sir Henry Brooke.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – January 2018

Kansas Sunflower Field

This month we share news about a new CMS project for Kansas, Microsoft’s Skype Interview Scheduler, Legal Tech Design’s pop-up blockchain class, a well formatted legal pleading from the New Zealand courts, and useful feature tips for the Chrome browser.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

JTC Resource Bulletins on ODR

In case you haven't seen them already, the Joint Technology Committee (JTC) published two resource bulletins last month on the topic of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). These papers provide excellent insight into how courts are leveraging technology to expand services and provide more timely and cost effective ways for citizens to resolve disputes.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Court Waiting Areas and Tech

One thing that courts do is to make people wait.  While technology can help to alleviate some of the waiting time for participants, we make the wait less stressful and perhaps even productive.  More below…

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Florida Courts Offer New Litigant Help App

In an article posted at WFSU Public Media on December 15, 2017, we learned about the new Florida Courts Mobile App that was unveiled by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga for the Florida Civil Justice Commission.  It was noted in the article that “Former Florida Bar president and Commission on Access to Civil Justice member Greg Coleman says improved mobile access will help people who can’t afford attorneys.”