Picture this, it’s March 2020. You’re working in a municipal courthouse that is already backed up and struggling to handle the amount of cases and associated workload.
Suddenly, the pandemic strikes. Your backlogged courthouse just had to make the switch online. With the majority of government workers hardly familiar with Zoom, virtual court is a struggle to adjust to.
When COVID-19 struck, it pointed out a clear need for innovation within the US court system. Fortunately, municipal court software has eased the burden for many local governments that formerly struggled with the adjustment, and in the process demonstrated how court management software can make proceedings more efficient.
But what is judicial software, and how can it improve workflows at your local courthouse? Read on for everything your judicial workers need to know.
What is Court Software?
Court software (also known as judicial software or court management software) is technology meant to automate tedious tasks like case management, virtual appeals and transcripts, and court scheduling for in-person and virtual hearings.
By automating mindless processes, your judicial workers can allocate their time savings elsewhere and constituents can move through the judicial process at a much quicker rate.
What are the Benefits of Municipal Court Software?
Judicial software is designed to be intuitive and customizable based on your courthouse staff’s specific automation needs.
That being said, users of GovPilot’s users have regularly highlighted the following benefits in using court software:
1. Virtual Court Hearings
Let’s be honest. No one expected court hearings to be moved from in-person to online so abruptly. That being said, there are a lot of obvious benefits to hosting court hearings remotely.
Attendees don’t need to take time out of their busy days to drive to the court house.
Government workers can work from a fully remote location; an enticing benefit when recruiting municipal workers.
Scheduling can be automated to save administrative employees time.
While data shows that 1 in 3 judicial workers admitted to struggling with going virtual, municipal employees that switched to GovPilot made note of acclimating within just a single day. Learn more in the digital transformation case study.
2. Automated Requests for Transcripts, Appeals, OPRA & FOIA Requests.
It's a municipal government’s duty to have an ADA compliant website that’s intuitive for all. That means simple online requests for important documents should be accessible for anyone involved with your municipal court system.
Court software can be implemented on your website with ease, meaning that applying for meaningful court documents like transcripts, appeals, OPRA, or FOIA requests can be requested from anywhere, anytime.
3. Virtual Scheduling of Court Appearances
Courthouses nationwide reported a slow-down in cases heard as a result of the pandemic. The struggle to coordinate hearings from a remote location undoubtedly played part in the chaos. Now, constituents can pick their own hearing time from your website to keep the judicial process moving and constituents informed on their court dates.
4. Cloud-Based Data Storage
With municipal government management software, important legal documents will be automatically stored in the cloud. That means your judicial workers will have immediate access to any relevant document they’ll need, and constituents’ private data will be kept private and secure once submitted to your municipal government.
You can learn more about the benefits of storing data in the cloud in our Should the Public Sector Use the Cloud or In-House Servers guide.
5. Paperless Courthouses
With documentation in the cloud and document requests fully-online, your court system can make the switch to paperless workflows which will save time, increase the uptake of revenue through fees paid online, and will be a clear environmental win by eliminating paper.
6. Speed Up the Judicial Process
The right to a speedy trial in criminal cases holds meaning across the judicial system. Constituents deserve their day in court as soon as possible, and shouldn’t have to wait months on end to know the next step in the judicial process.
Enable constituents to plead not-guilty or guilty to minor offenses like traffic violations online and pay associated fines and fees directly through their mobile or desktop web browser.
With time-savings and online-scheduling, your municipal court will improve its reputation with community members. Learn more about how going digital improves constituent-municipality relations in our How to Build Trust in Your Local Government guide.
How Can Your Local Courthouse Go Digital?
A digital transformation is inevitable for municipalities in the United States.
Here are some of the ways you can prepare for going digital:
Communicate with municipal workers.
Many municipal workers are reluctant to change. Give government employees a heads up that they can anticipate going digital in the immediate future; reassure them that the transition will be simple. And be sure to ask government workers which tasks they feel are the most time consuming for your municipal court so courthouse leadership can prioritize accordingly.
Leverage federal grants.
Bills like the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are posed to distribute billions directly to municipal governments. In addition to funds being spent on resilient physical infrastructure, billions are also being granted towards better digital infrastructure. Consider applying for grants for improved broadband internet, so that your courthouse can leverage high-speed internet for virtual court and digital applications.
To learn more about how recent federal legislation will impact your local government, read on in the American Rescue Plan: What It Means for Local Government and How the Infrastructure Bill Will Impact Your Municipality guides.
Loop constituents in.
As you gear up to optimize your courthouse workflow, update your website and social media accounts to let community-members know that they can schedule court sessions online and apply for transcripts via your website.
To learn more about improving your online presence, read on in the How Local Governments Should Leverage Social Media guide.
Court Management Software - In Conclusion
As the world continues to re-acclimate from the pandemic, local courts will need to adopt a more digital format. As the country improves Internet connectivity, courthouses anywhere can prepare to benefit from moving to a more remote, web based operation. In fact, it will make the justice system more efficient.
To learn more about how court software can benefit your municipality, book a free consultation.
Judicial Software FAQs
What is Court Software?
Court software offers municipalities a platform for automating tasks related to court case management, virtual proceedings, jury management, and court document requests.
The best court management software offers document management from online applications on government websites, leverages robotic process automation to save administrative workers time, and improves the reliability of the courtroom as a whole.
What is Court Scheduling Software?
Automating court scheduling allows constituents to pick court hearing times and dates online, and will automatically update the prosecutors, defendants, jury members, and relevant law enforcement via e-mail.
Anyone with personal computers or a mobile device can now schedule their court case remotely, saving time for administrative employees and public users.
What is Court Task Management?
Court staff has a lot on their plates. Attending relevant court hearings, coordinating for court hearings to take place, and filing / distributing court data can leave clerks feeling spread thin. Improve the day to day operations with task management software that handles docketing and time management for your administrative clerks.
Does Court Software Store Legal Data?
Courthouses regularly receive data that is personal and needs to be stored securely. A cloud-based case management system will automatically save documents like warrants, case information, case filings, and other related information and will keep them inaccessible to hackers with top-notch cybersecurity protocol. You can learn more about municipal cybersecurity here:
For more municipal resources, read on: