Court Sharing System Puts Justice System At Risk, say Solicitors

An IT program launched by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to facilitate information sharing between courts, solicitors, and police has been criticised for putting the justice system “at danger.”

In the last several years, the Common Platform software system for the UK courts was implemented to give legal practitioners a streamlined digital resource to access case information, such as charges, evidence, and outcomes.

Whistleblowers told the BBC’s Radio 4 File on 4 programme that the system is flawed, hazardous, and incomplete, and as a result, the initiative is now being accused of wrongful arrests and detentions.
Despite the fact that solicitors have been complaining about issues with the software for months, it has been implemented in criminal courts throughout England and Wales.
The BBC was informed by Liam Kotrie, a director and solicitor at Mary Monson Solicitors, that “it hasn’t earned a good reputation [so far] I am rather tech savvy, I can manage most regular programmes better than most people, and I am still struggling”

Director of research at the Legal Education Foundation, Dr. Natalie Byrom said 
Others find it ‘clunk’ or just can’t find the cases they need. Unfortunately, she felt it fell more into the category of not being usable rather than being user-friendly.
Unfortunately, she felt it fell more into the category of not being usable rather than being user-friendly.

The Legal Education Foundation’s director of research, Dr. Natalie Byrom, called the Common Platform’s goals “extremely ambitious” and said that by gathering data more effectively, “better regulations can be designed, problems can be located and the system can be managed better.”

Inputting a complicated case into the system, according to a legal advisor whistleblower who spoke to the programme, can take up to 45 minutes.

Legal advisers may overlook key information of a case in court due of the software’s complexity, they claimed, and “the consequences of not getting things right are actually quite dire.” adding ““It has to be taken seriously. If we can’t have any faith in our justice system, what can we have faith in?”

“I had a case where the restraining order dropped off the system, it had been there and somehow that then erased off the system, like it never existed,” an unnamed court clerk whistleblower told the programme.