Jusletter IT

E-Justice and Technological Advances.

Dear readers,

Two topics are addressed in this current issue of Jusletter IT, both of them having a disruptive character: the digitalization of the judicial system and the consequences of technological advances.

Even though the process of the judicial system’s digitalization has started long ago, it is now known that the future will bring fundamental changes. The gap between a fully digitalized and today’s judiciary will be larger than the one between Switzerland’s judiciary today and the judicial system in countries where the separation of powers is just façade. It remains largely unclear where this will lead. Conceivable is, however, that professional competence in digital transformation being widely spread within the judiciary will determine the quality of the transition’s outcome. Temporizing would be a good option in theory, but only if connected with intensive observation analysis and reflection of the shifting abroad and supplemented by further education in digital transformation for everybody in the judicial system. Anyway, experience has taught us that temporizing inhibits those valuable practices, as their purpose won’t be understood as long as the challenges of digital transformation haven’t been experienced in one’s own daily life. In other words: without the need to acquire knowledge, there are neither will nor ability to do so. Furthermore, a judiciary system not moving with the times will not only be confronted with problems regarding the operational area, but will naturally begin to fulfil its core duties as judicial system worse than before. The institutional quality of the judiciary, same as in executive and legislative, depends on the knowledge of digitalization, since digitalization will change all areas of life and particularly the operational resources of a trial’s participants.

The development of the judicial system’s digitalization in Switzerland, Austria and Germany is compared by Miriam Garbauer. She focuses on the possible reasons for slowing down the digitalization in the Swiss judiciary.

Martin Dumermuth and Sandra Eberle deal with the requisite and preferable legal circumstances for a digitalization of the judiciary and with its political and temporal feasibility.

A short overview on the Austrian strategical initiative «Justiz 3.0» is given by Martin Schneider and Thomas Gottwald.

The emphasis on e-justice is supplemented by speeches recorded in November 2016 at the «Tagung für Informatik und Recht» addressing the topic «Eine Vision für eJustice in der Schweiz»:

  • Peter Münch / Miriam Garbauer, eJustice in der Schweiz – Stand und kritische Erfolgsfaktoren (Podcast)
  • Daniel Gruber, Eine Vision für eJustice in der Schweiz (Podcast)
  • Holger Radke, Wie mir die eAkte meinen Arbeitsalltag als Richter erleichtert (Podcast)
  • Marc Oser, Arbeiten mit der eAkte im Gerichtsalltag (Podcast)
  • Jens Piesbergen, Fortschritte bei der Digitalisierung in der Schweiz – Aktivitäten und Ausblicke (Podcast)

The article by Bettina Mielke and Christian Wolff is situated in the overlapping range of both topics. The authors deal with potential and effect of legal technologies.

The second topic dealt with is the legally relevant effects of technological advances. On one hand, new regulation requirements occur with new technologies, especially if they have disruptive impact on economy, society or state. On the other hand, technologies are being developed enabling jurists to refine their discipline functionally, which, in turn, can raise regulation issues as well. Therefore, a constant confrontation with disruptive technologies is imperative. At the same time, the demand for analysis, reflection and discussion is particularly urgent in the area of Blockchain technology.

Ralf Huber addresses the current potential of technologies for the reduction of compliance expenses in the financial industry. He asks what the advantages of using such technologies are and under which circumstances they can be applied successfully.

The regulation challenges arising with Blockchain technology and its future usage are treated by Rolf H. Weber. In this context, we refer to the article recently published in Jusletter (Barbara Graham-Siegenthaler / Andreas Furrer, The Position of Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin in Swiss Law, in: Jusletter 8 May2017).

Lee Bacon and George Bazinas discuss the legal aspects of a special design within the Blockchain technology, namely smart contracts. Additionally, they consider the extent to which smart contracts can replace traditional legal contracts.

The legal consequences resulting from the new technological possibility of voice cloning are examined by Małgorzata Kiełtyka, Jakub Gładkowski, Anna Bednarska, Mariusz Bujacz and Kamil Trzaskoś, focusing in particular on Polish Law.

The article written by Gertraud Redl and Philipp Klausberger neither focuses neither on e-justice nor on technological advances. The authors are dealing with an e-government topic, namely the electronic incoming in the Austrian Financial Markets Authority

I wish you a fascinating reading.

Berne, in May 2017

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Riedl
Bern University of Applied Sciences 

On our own behalf: Don't miss the upcoming Jusletter IT Flash focusing on «Digitalization of the Legal Market». The issue will be published on 13 June 2017.

Dealing with the same subject, the Weblaw Forum LegalTech will take place on 29 June 2017 – participation is feasable locally or via live stream.


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