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First Step Towards Electronic Courts

B.C.’s civil court system is going online in what one legal expert calls a “quantum leap” in access to the province’s court system.

Published By Canadian Press / Vancouver Province / Globe and Mail

February 4, 2005

VANCOUVER (CP)– B.C.’s civil court system is going online in what one legal expert calls a “quantum leap” in access to the province’s court system.

The electronic court registry will allow Internet access to civil court records for $6 per transaction fee.

Bill Everett, a former president of the B.C. Law Society, called Court Services Online the first step towards the electronic courts of the future.

“Really a quantum leap, and a very important service that’s being offered,” he said at an announcement for the project on Friday. “For many people in B.C. access is difficult and expensive. This system will certainly improve that situation.”

The launch of the online service is the first phase of a plan.

Residents will be able to access B.C. Court of Appeal documents later this year, and will be able to file their court documents by early next year.

Attorney General Geoff Plant predicts when people get more comfortable with the process court decisions could even be made electronically.

“Where credibility is not an issue, where you could actually conduct cyber court,” he said.

The start up cost of the program is about $400,000, but Plant says much of the cost will be covered by the transaction fees.

The attorney general says it’s a tremendous opportunity to streamline the justice system, making it more accessible, more efficient.

Adoption and other files deemed private will not be available online.

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