Lesjak on A Proposal of Representative Legal e-Services Based on a Slovenian Case Study

Benjamin Lesjak of the University of Maribor Faculty of Law will present a paper entitled A Proposal of Representative Legal e-Services Based on a Slovenian Case Study, at The eChallenges e-2010 Conference, to be held 27-29 October 2010, in Warsaw, Poland. Here is the abstract of the paper:

Information technology is widely used in all governmental sectors and its use is very much spread in justice sector, as well. Introduction of use of IT in justice sector is mostly developed under initiatives of national Ministries of Justice, courts and other agencies from legal system, which responded with various legal services to the need of citizens, businesses, legal practitioners and the judicial authorities to conduct some of the judiciary services by electronic means. Should the use and introduction of IT in justice sector be treated as a part of e-government initiative (C2G, B2G and G2G) is a discussion of some authors in e-government literature. It is important in some way to distinguish between e-government and e-justice, particularly because of the independency of the judiciary. An initiative of the European e-justice started in 2007 under Council of EU. Its working party for legal data processing (e-justice) started a discussion and preparation of European e-justice among EU member states as separated project to e-government but still emphasized the great importance of e-government and its achievement in authentication, interoperability framework, e-Signature, e-Identity, which will make use of existing modern technologies, as mentioned in The Council’s Multi annual European e-justice action plan 2009-2013 (OJ 2009/C 75/01). When delivering service to above mentioned users as stated in Action plan three criteria should be established: The first is that a European e-Justice is a step on the way to the creation of a European judicial area; The second is that the projects must implement the legislative instruments already adopted by the European Community and the European Union in the field of justice; And the third criteria, that it is essential that European e-Justice should be developed so as to be of direct service to European citizens, who would benefit from its added value, specifically via the portal. When prioritizing the projects, it should be ensured that citizens could rapidly benefit the e-Justice tools. Nevertheless are the member states free to start their own e-justice projects; therefore the Ministry of Justice in Slovenia prepared its strategic plan of e-justice development. Within four key areas (Collaboration, Infrastructure, Solutions and Knowledge) different legal e-services were developed in recent years, which were on a general level accepted among users, though a detailed research of use and possible influence on efficiency on justice system was not conducted yet.

In our paper we will present a classification of legal e-services from different perspectives: user, provider, legal sector, legal grid and level of development. An overview of Slovenian legal e-services, which were developed by different stakeholders of national e-justice system from public and private sector, is to be made according to the classification. In conclusions we would like to propose a set of representative legal e-services of national justice system, which would represent an evaluation of the development of national e-justice sector in one country.

A classification is prepared with literature review that is based on findings of authors from e-government and e-justice sector and other studies at EU level. The overview of existing Slovenian legal e-services in e-justice sector is conducted with an actual search and inquiry of legal e-services. We are focused primarily on judiciary related web portals of different providers and on site evaluation according to previously mentioned classification. In the search we include various providers of legal content and services: supreme and constitutional court of Republic of Slovenia with their services, Ministry of justice, e-government portal with law related services, Ministry of internal affair with law related services, providers of public sector information (PSI) with legal content and corresponding services, and other providers. At each legal e-service a special measurement considering classification is used, where we use a scale or other type of measurement (textual description, position in a grid). A package of representative legal e-service is conducted as a proposition related to the classification and the evaluation of Slovenian legal e-services. A proposed set is taking into account user and provider perspective, legal sector of provided service, position on the legal grid and level of development. The proposition is rather an attempt to show the importance of measuring the development of e-justice in certain country and a proposition of future comparison of development of e-justice.

Core technology for legal e-services and development of e-justice is an internet based, but as mentioned before e-government has already provided certain documents and infrastructural propositions as the European interoperability framework (EIF) developed within IDABC which is a basic structure for e-government development. Therefore infrastructural and technical point of view of developmental technology of e-justice would mostly get mirrored from e-government and in many members states e-justice uses the same infrastructure. Since we have already emphasized the importance of e-government and e-justice distinction, a case study on the use of several legal services from different aspect views is conducted and a special approach is needed at e-justice. At e-government we are aware of different approach of service delivery to users (one stop shop, life events), but at e-justice no exact research exist on how to provide legal e-services to the end-users.

In conclusions we will emphasize the importance of the developing initiatives of e-justice beside very well structured and developed e-government. As e-government research activities are well developed, we should take more attention at research activities on e-justice projects and whole system from different perspectives, not only at development of new legal e-services. We have in mind theoretical and methodological foundation of e-justice, benchmarking from different perspectives and with use of various methodologies, inventory of the user requirements and processes, legal and judicial influences and not to forget the efficiency of e-justice and its influence on a legal system.

For the full text of the paper, please contact the author.

Thanks to Mr. Lesjak for providing the abstract.

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