Nova Scotia calls for public input on modernizing and digitizing the courts

A task force is preparing for the digital transformation of the Nova Scotia courts

Nova Scotia calls for public input on modernizing and digitizing the courts

Nova Scotia is seeking public input on modernizing the courts using technology and digitization until March 31.

Nova Scotia recently launched a website and public survey to help the province's Digital Task Force identify matters that could improve and new ways the courts could digitize and incorporate technology.

The digital task force was established in 2021 and led by the Department of Justice and the Nova Scotia Judiciary. It aims to improve access to justice, increase efficiencies, and create better user outcomes.

The task force has engaged Public Digital to assist in outlining a vision for the digital transformation of the Nova Scotia courts. The firm has interviewed judges, court staff, and lawyers and reviewed other available research. The survey intends to gather inputs on how the court system can improve access to justice and respond to the need for greater access to information.

"Our courts have innovated and shifted rapidly to utilize more virtual services over the last few years, which has improved access to the justice system for many Nova Scotians. Working with the Nova Scotia Judiciary and our other government and justice partners, we will build on progress so far and develop a roadmap for future innovation," attorney general and minister of justice Brad Johns said.

Nova Scotia chief justice and digital task force co-chair Michael J. Wood said the pandemic forced the courts to act quickly and with the flexibility to continue hearing matters. Wood acknowledged that technological changes helped make processes more accessible for court users. However, he also emphasized that the long-term digital transformation of the courts will require collaboration and support from every justice system component.

The digital task force includes members of the judiciary from all levels of court, senior government officials from the Department of Justice and Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, and three lawyers representing the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society. The public survey is available online until March 31.

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