Judiciary's Information Technology Strategy Plan
The Judiciary Administration ("JA") has put forward an Information Technology Strategy Plan (“ITSP”) which sets out the direction for the technology development of the Judiciary. A key initiative of the ITSP is to develop, by phases, an integrated Court Case Management System ("iCMS") to provide an electronic option to enable court users to handle documents and processes with the court across various levels of courts. The JA is now working on a set of draft legislation and Practice Directions for the implementation of the ITSP. It is proposed that an electronic option will first be introduced in the District Court and part of the Magistrates’ Courts. Details about the legislative proposals for the implementation of the ITSP are outlined in a LegCo Paper in April 2019.
As for the timetable for the above legislative exercise, we understand that it is the JA's intention to introduce the relevant bill ("e-Bill") into the Legislative Council after this summer with the hope that the e-Bill could be enacted before the summer of 2020 and be followed by the respective tabling of subsidiary legislation ("e-Rules") and a commencement notice for the e-Bill and the e-Rules at the Legislative Council for negative vetting so that the new law could commence by end 2020 or, failing that, early 2021.
The Law Society has set up a working party to review this matter and to respond to the Judiciary on their draft legislation and IT proposals. That working party, together with the Civil Litigation Committee and the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee of the Law Society, has held several meetings themselves and also with the JA to consider various technical matters. Further, I understand that the JA is planning for pilot runs of the iCMS before the enactment of the legislation and I will keep you informed.
Melissa K. Pang
(Information from The Law Society of Hong Kong)