The digital future of the justice system

The digital future of the justice system

On 25 October 2017, Minister of Justice Koen Geens in a memorandum entitled "The Court of the Future" presented his vision of the court of the future. His intention was to kick off a broad debate on the subject.

The leitmotif running through the memorandum is improving the accessibility and the speed of the justice system, which one hopes will lead to a greater degree of justice. The Minister wishes as far as possible to remove the obstacles to getting a dispute resolved in a timely manner.

A wide range of means are proposed for achieving this, and many of them must be called revolutionary compared to some of the current methods and ways of working.

Digitisation plays a central role, from the digital start-up of a legal case at the court, via electronic service and oral arguments by video conference, to much higher-quality databases. The already-familiar e-deposit (electronic filing of pleadings and documents) and Regsol (electronic bankruptcy dossier) were just the beginning… In 2018 a Just-on-Web website will coordinate the new possibilities, and for those seeking justice should become what Tax-on-Web already is for the taxpayer today.

The upgrading of the courts of first instance, a tax-deductible legal assistance insurance and the redefinition of the physical tribunals are also addressed in the memorandum.

One thing’s for sure: absolutely no one can say that Belgium’s Minister of Justice lacks ambition. After the “hop” and the “step” of his reform plans, he’s now fully into the “jump” phase, as shown by the approaching recodification of a huge amount of basic legislation. Having learned from past mistakes, he now appears to be successfully avoiding stumbling blocks and is actually transforming his plans for more efficient courts into reality - although of course we still have to wait and see just how far the reforms ultimately go.

In any event, we will continue to monitor this process closely for you. If you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact Pim van den Bos and Geert De Buyzer (authors).