Challenge: Slow, paper-based processes
At any one time, the judicial system in Israel can be handling as many as 500,000 live cases, relating to everything from homicide to traffic offenses. Around 3,000 new cases are opened every working day, and during the course of a typical year, more than 800,000 new cases are lodged with the courts.
In the past, Israeli Courts relied heavily on inefficient, paper-based processes for case management. Bulging files of case documents were physically passed from desk to desk and office to office, wasting valuable time on administrative tasks. In addition, unnecessary delays sometimes occurred when files were overlooked or misplaced.
To make matters worse, the central administration function had little visibility into the status of cases, as they passed from stage to stage in the judicial process. Equally, lawyers and police had no means of tracking their cases.
Up to 30% of their open cases had not been acted on for more than a year, simply because there was no automated recordkeeping to trace case status by either employees or external stakeholders.
Israeli Courts decided to address all these challenges through the deployment of an electronic case management system using K2 Software.
They wanted to track and expedite important cases, sometimes involving life or death. They also wanted to grant limited access to external users such as judges, police officers and court employees in order to verify case status and submit necessary documents.
Solution: Instant access to first aid incident reports
Focus Integration Systems, an IT systems-integration partner used K2 Software to design and build a sophisticated case management solution specifically for the Israeli Courts. This pioneering solution comprises around 150 workflows and creates a seamless electronic process that covers the entire lifecycle of each legal case filed, from submission to judgment.
Huge in scale, the case management system is used by 3,700 judges and court employees, of whom 2,600 use the system concurrently every day. Clerks no longer have to search for files from cabinets and locate documents pertaining to cases. All the documentation and case history they need is right in front of them, on their computers, delivered on the same screen, accessible from their inboxes. Consequently, the courts can process cases far more efficiently and accurately.
“Automated electronic processes free up our clerks to do more professional legal work, rather than simple administrative tasks,” said Yarden Yardeni, the project manager at Israeli Courts. “Now, they can use their time more productively.”
The use of K2 Software for the business application has enabled Israeli Courts to standardize the way in which each type of case is processed. Each user has an inbox and is automatically presented with a list of their tasks. The business application then guides employees to complete tasks in the right sequence.
“If we have a new, inexperienced employee, he will process each case the right way, with the same efficiency as a more experienced member of staff,” Yardeni said. “There is far less risk of administrative errors or unnecessary delays.”
At a glance, Israeli Courts can see how many cases are open, monitor the workload for each team and drill down to identify which cases are at which stage in the process. Now, it is impossible for cases to be overlooked, as every open case has at least one task assigned to a specific person. “For the first time, we now have information about the status of all our cases and can monitor workloads,” Yardeni said. “This insight allows us to allocate work to judges and clerks more effectively and process cases efficiently.”
The new case management process completely eliminates the need for courts to handle and file paper-based reports, forms, and correspondence. Of the 100,000 new documents that enter the court system every day, 40,000 are received or generated electronically. The remaining 60,000 paper-based documents are now electronically scanned and tracked upon receipt. This not only saves an enormous amount of time and money but also has the added benefit of reducing the need for physical storage space and filing cabinets—further increasing efficiency by reducing office size and expense.
Police and legal firms can access the case management system remotely, via a Web-based interface, to check the status of cases and remotely submit documents, as necessary. Between 8,000 and 9,000 external users have registered to access the system and can view exactly the same information as internal users.
“Everything that is done inside is immediately reflected to the outside world,” Yardeni said. “Lawyers can see what stage their case is in and what will happen next. That information wasn’t available to them previously.”