7 Jan 2008

Installing technology in courts: A move forward

Just the other day I had posted my views on changing times with onslaught of technology in the legal scenario. Previously I had recalled that the interaction of the courts in India with the world wide web were limited to providing causelists and decisions online. But then this recent news from Illinois is really a far cry for the modernization of the court system on technological lines.

This Law Librarian Blog article [click here for the full article] informs that the Illinois Supreme Court will start posting the oral arguments on the web. I can find this information interesting on various lines and can associate it with various factors. Firstly and foremost, it will give a new dimension to the cut-throat legal research already in vogue in the United States. The opposing counsels will be inclined to make better preparations for defense of the cases from the way in which the arguments were concluded. I am sure psychologists, physiologists and the always expanding team of support staff would go through the recoded arguments again and again to find the weak points of the other side, may be from the quavering of speech and what all innovative tools they might consider to employ. Perhaps I have been reading a lot of John Grisham novels, but in any case, the para-legal analysis part does stand scrutiny.

It will give a good opportunity to the budding lawyers and law-students to have real life experiences from the court room, to prepare for hearing, learn how to get out from catch-22 situations, perfect oratory skills, learn the diction and to make useful notes on the variable use of pitch in posing arguments and examination of witnesses. It would really good material for the law students to start a practice from. And similarly this would be a good background study material to be prescribed by law professors for their pupils.

Further, even the general public gets an opportunity to gets an insight as to what really happens into a court room without requiring to actually clear the formalities to be allowed inside. It may be a different case that its not a complete audio-visual tour type scenario but then for a start, it is a good impetus to get people involved in the legal process.

Its a good sign overall, with no losers in the system. If successful, in the sense that it gets support from a considerable number of attorneys and judges, perhaps this idea might even graduate leading to full fledged video-recording of trials be beginning to be kept and displayed as public documents. This would not only put laxity out of the system but would also be good exercise for lawyers and law students to learn from what they would find as the mistakes of others and in this manner hone their arguing and presentation skills.

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