iPads in Court – A Good Idea?

by Networks First on March 26, 2013

Following last month’s announcement  that Scottish prosecutors are trialling a scheme that will see lawyers using iPads during cases, I thought I’d have a look at the (often bumpy) history of relations between law and technology.

First of all though, a quick update on the scheme:

£310,000 iPad Pilot Scheme

Scottish courts are moving with the times by testing a scheme that will pioneer the use of iPads in court. The scheme, which is costing £310,000, will aim to test the efficiency of using such gadgets in a court room setting.  The cost covers the overall price of the devices themselves, the necessary software and staff training.
Many Scottish lawyers are hailing the scheme as a big step forward for the industry, but detractors will point out the multiple mishaps in law and technology’s chequered history.

Here are some highlights from what has, in some respects, been a difficult relationship:

Trial Adjourned due to iPad Use

A Scottish trial was adjourned when a lawyer whipped out an iPad in court. Rather than taking exception to the device itself, Sheriff James Spy was quoted as saying: “You should not assume the bench will allow the use of iPads in court” to which the lawyer in question responded, somewhat sheepishly, “I sincerely apologise. I did not mean any disrespect.”

In the end, Sheriff Spy adjourned the case and left the bench for 10 minutes whilst McKenna printed off his notes.

Case Details Wiped

Some judges have chosen to embrace new technology, and none more so than veteran Scottish judge Sheriff Robert McCreadie. However, his love for his laptop has led to a fair few court room mishaps.

In December 2007, Sheriff McCreadie was forced to halt proceedings when he accidentally pressed the wrong button on his laptop keyboard, wiping the case details. Although it seems comic now, we can only assume the accused was a little miffed.

My Buttons Aren’t Working

Sheriff Robert McCreadie again. This time, he was forced to leave the bench during a court case because his ‘w’ button had stopped working. Then, in a later case, he once again left the bench because his ‘e’ button had stopped working.

Add to this his laptop’s apparent tendency to crash at key moments during cases, and you have all the ingredients for a rocky tech-law relationship!

It’s not all Bad

Despite the apparently difficult relationship between technology and law, legal professionals are being forced to accept it into their working lives, and products like Networks First’s ProductivityONE are on hand to ease the transition.

ProductivityONE allows users to access, share and control everything from contacts and calendars to secure legal documents across a range of platforms, including iPhones and iPads, Android devices and Blackberries.

This means law firms can share information and collaborate both inside and outside the organisation without having to worry about security issues, allowing legal teams to access documents from home or the court room.

To find out more about ProductivityONE, visit Networks First at http://www.networksfirst.com/.

This post was written By Peter Titmus – Chairman of Networks First. Peter is passionate about innovation and strongly believes in technology that enables companies and their staff to work in a flexible and effective way.

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