Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts across the United States have experienced unprecedented disruption as they adapt to the restrictions and new ways to operate. Currently there is a statewide order to suspend in-person hearings in eight US states, a statewide order to suspend in-person jury trials in 16 states, and many other local orders closing courthouses across the country.

The impact on the court system has been huge. Backlogs, already mounting in many court systems before the pandemic, have increased rapidly. To manage this, courts have been looking at technology to facilitate virtual hearings and streamline court processes. The pandemic has expedited existing efforts to transform the way that courts operate.

With this in mind, the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts has selected Thomson Reuters Digital Evidence Center – its cloud-based court exhibit and evidence sharing platform – for all courts across the state. The platform, formerly known as CaseLines, enables courts to facilitate virtual, in-court and hybrid hearings more efficiently, and ensures improved and continued access to justice for the people of Arizona throughout the pandemic.

Dave Byers, director of the Administrative Office of the Arizona Courts, commented, “For several years, we have been looking at the best ways to manage digital evidence and how to present this in a courtroom. The pandemic has brought this issue front and center and has created urgency. Arizona prides itself on being on the cutting edge of innovation within the Courts and the engagement with Thomson Reuters will help us manage the backlog of cases in the court system, better manage virtual hearings, and allow us to establish a digital evidence system.”

Digital Evidence Center is already used by courts and jurisdictions in 25 countries, including the UK’s Ministry of Justice, South Africa’s Office of the Chief Justice, Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice and the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts. More than 25,000 people – including lawyers, judges, court officials and pro se litigants – already use Digital Evidence Center daily. Arizona becomes the first US jurisdiction to adopt Digital Evidence Center statewide.

“The pandemic has shown that the court process has changed forever,” said Steve Rubley, president of the Government Segment for Thomson Reuters. “The court system needs a solution that can offer secure, collaborative access, meet the demands of remote working and streamline the court process. We are thrilled to be working with the state of Arizona to help them maintain access to justice and eliminate backlogs in the court system.”

Read more here.

This guest post was written by John Russell, director of Communications for the Government Segment at Thomson Reuters.

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