The German government wants to use the law to promote electronic legal relations, which was adopted in 2013, to curb the flood of paper. The law stipulates that lawyers, solicitors and authorities must communicate electronically with courts by 2022 at the latest. Petitions, claims, documents and legal documents – all of these must be submitted digitally. The new technology, new processes and new procedures should all be well under way two years prior to the cut-off date.
Save money, become more efficient
The justice secretary for Saxony-Anhalt recently predicted that his state was making savings of 2.3 million euros per year. A lot has, however, been invested: The state ministry calculates that the cost of introducing the electronic legal relations has amounted to around 15.3 million euros. However, considering the financial implications of the electronic system alone does not tell the whole story. After all, there have been considerable gains in terms of efficiency, with faster proceedings, improved communication between the legal authorities and, last but not least, increased security in terms of archiving.
Ready for the digital age
German authorities are not renowned for driving innovation. But in this case one must acknowledge that the German judiciary is on target and digitalisation is progressing – soon entire court records will be managed digitally. The project is a good example of the advantages that digital processes offer – and, of course, of how citizens can benefit from the technology, as proceedings now run more quickly.