Judges in Arizona's Pima County Superior Court will soon get a break from flipping through stacks of paper.
The county's court system has begun a pilot program utilizing an "electronic bench" system for judges, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The decision was made in order to cut the amount of paper the courts consume and streamline operations. This will be great for judges, who will have their workload notably eased with the switch.
"There's not a week that goes by that we don't have several hundred documents to read," Pima County Superior Court Judge Charles Harrington, told the publication.
The new system will allow judges to access entire case files from either the bench in the courtroom, or their chambers. The content management system is keyword searchable and allows judges annotate files and easily share documents with staff.
The changes that going paperless can make are very real and can provide notable cost and time savings. LarsonAllen LLP began going paperless several years ago and has realized significant savings, according to Outsourcing Manager Abe Matthew. He cited PricewaterhouseCoopers in listing some of the unnoticed costs associated with paper. On average the labor cost of filing a document is $20. And that's cheap, misplacing documents costs plenty more. Finding a misfiled document can cost up to $120, while replicating a lost file can run $220 in labor costs.
Pima County's new document management software went live in late August with three judges using it, including Harrington. When the judges become more used to the system, it is possible it will be utilized across the whole civil bench. Paperless courtrooms aren't new to Arizona, though. The Arizona Court of Appeals implemented a content management service in 2001.
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