Friday, September 10, 2021

Court Tech News and Notes for September 2021


September means “back to school” days.  Learning for my court tech friends includes CourtStack CMS training, the upcoming LegalXML Electronic Court Filing (ECF) face to face meeting at CTC 2021, planning for new Microsoft Teams capabilities, and Ontario’s new legal innovation regulatory sandbox project.




CourtStack training announced: Developing standards-based applications with the Virtual CMS (A Court Component Model Development Workshop)

CourtStack is an active initiative of the California Trial Courts in collaboration with the California Judicial Council that aims to solve the problem of software reuse and solution portability, by providing a platform and framework for building CMS add-on solutions for all case management systems. It achieves this by leveraging abstraction and the concepts behind the JTC Court Component Model.

This workshop will focus on the core of the CourtStack platform, the Virtual CMS. The Virtual CMS is a CMS agnostic abstraction layer and API which sits on top of the underlaying case management system, enabling a standards base approach for interaction with any CMS. We will take a deep dive into what the Virtual CMS is, what it can do for us, how to use it and how we can leverage it to build solutions that will run on any CMS, for the benefit of many.

For more go to:

And there will also be a CourtStack presentation at CTC2021 - Track 3: Sesion 5 - Connecting the Dots: CourtStack Open Development Platform

LegalXML ECF to Meet

The LegalXML ECF TC will have our annual face to face meeting September 29 in Columbus, OH in conjunction with the Court Technology Conference. Now that LegalDocument and LegalRuleML have both advanced in the standards process, we have been asked to put a discussion of adding specific support for court documents on the agenda. 

As you probably know, the ECF TC has focused on the metadata necessary for the filing and review of documents, but have left the structure and rules for particular documents out of scope with the understanding that LegalDocument and LegalRuleML TCs would eventually tackle this area.  Possible questions to be discussed are:

  1. Do you have some any examples of structures and/or rules for court documents that I could share with the ECF TC as an example of what is now possible with LegalDocument and LegalRuleML?
  2. Are there specific use cases we should consider for combining the use of the ECF, LegalDocument and/or LegalRuleML specifications?
  3. Do you have any suggestions to the ECF TC of what improvements to the ECF specifications would better support the exchange of court documents or rules?


Microsoft Announces Future Teams Features

Via ZDNet, we learned that “Microsoft has been adding new hybrid-work-focused features to Teams for the past couple of years. In June, officials announced a number of new Teams hybrid-meeting features that were in the works. Today's batch  of Teams and Office features is meant to improve further the hybrid-meeting experience for users who often don't have the right hardware, software, conference rooms and other requirements to make hybrid meetings most effective, officials said.”

The full article is available here:


Ontario Access to Innovation “Regulatory Sandbox” Coming

Via Twitter we learned that Jason Morris of RoundTableLaw will “be leading Access to Innovation, the Law Society of Ontario's new regulatory sandbox for innovative technological legal services… later this fall”.

The project report summary says:

“The Law Society’s Technology Task Force recommended the creation of a regulatory sandbox for innovative technological legal services (“ITLS”) as a five-year pilot.

Advancements in technological capabilities like artificial intelligence have contributed to the rapid rise of ITLS. Through websites, apps and software, ITLS providers offer tools to help people find legal information, answer routine questions, navigate legal processes, analyze contracts, generate legal documents, or predict outcomes.

Consumers may see such tools as the only practical option for legal assistance or as a precursor or supplement to a legal professional. There is a growing demand for ITLS due to unmet legal needs, consumer comfort with technologically delivered services, and the convenience of accessing help on demand.

The trend in technological advancement in the legal sector has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic with the adoption of digital and online tools by public institutions, private enterprises, and community organizations. Moving more of the justice sector infrastructure online (such as through e-filing portals and video hearings) has opened up new pathways for ITLS tools in Ontario. 

Despite the growth of digital innovation, ITLS currently operate in an environment of regulatory uncertainty. Standards for competent and ethical legal tech services have not been established. ITLS provided by persons not licensed as lawyers or paralegals may be subject to prosecution for the unauthorized practice of law. ITLS provided by licensees may be subject to professional conduct rules in ways that have not been clarified. This uncertainty can both deter the best innovation and deprive ITLS consumers of basic safeguards accorded to clients of licensees.“

Click here for the full task force report.


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