Australia launches first e-court

The first Australian purpose-built e-courtroom was launched today by Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey and Attorney General Rod Welford.

          The first Australian purpose-built e-courtroom was launched today by Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey and Attorney General Rod Welford.

          The courtroom, which includes computer screens built into the jury box, bar table and judge's bench and which will allow Australian jurors to access trial papers at the touch of a button, is being used to teach law students at Queensland's University of Technology (QUT).

          E.law Australia director Allison Stanfield says court complexes across Australia would include the specially designed courts in the near future.

          The new courts dramatically reduce the need for paper and allow legal teams, juries and judges to view real-time versions of transcripts during trials. The running transcript is entered into the computer system by stenographers, allowing lawyers to make notes as the trial proceeds, saving time and eventually money.

          Lawyers from around the country will be trained at QUT. The university's Law Faculty Dean, Professor Malcolm Cope, says judges and lawyers will also be able to access statutes and other cases during hearings. "It will be instantaneous," he says.

          Makeshift e-courts have previously hosted cases in the Federal Court and Supreme Courts in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia and real e-courts are in use in America and Singapore.

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