A Strategy for the Supply of Judicial and Court Services in Jersey
Michael Wilkins and Kate Jeggo, St Helier, Jersey.
(2nd Edition, Approved in Principle by JLIB, November 2000)
1.1 - Purpose of this Document
1.2 - The Aim
1.3 - The Approach
1.4 - Programmes
2.1 - Programme I - Exploitation of Technology
2.2 - Programme 2 - Civil Justice
2.3 - Programme 3 - Criminal Justice
2.4 - Programme 4 - Alternative Dispute Resolution and Dispute Avoidance
2.4.1 - Dispute resolution
2.4.2 - Dispute avoidance
2.5 - Programme 5 - Community-Based and Self-Help
2.5.1 - Community-Based Help
2.5.2 - Self-Help
2.6 - Programme 6 - Miscellaneous
2.6.1 - Promulgation of Legislation
2.6.2 - Accommodation
188.8.131.52 - Royal Court
184.108.40.206 - Magistrate’s Court
220.127.116.11 - HV Benest Room
18.104.22.168 - States Prison
2.6.3 - Judicial Training
2.6.4 - Court Rules and Practice Directions
2.6.5 - PRIDE
2.6.6 - Human Rights Legislation
2.6.7 - Portuguese Community
2.6.8 - Data Protection and Privacy; Security and Confidentiality
22.214.171.124 - Data Protection and Privacy
126.96.36.199 - Security and Confidentiality
2.6.9 - Resource Procurement and Income
188.8.131.52 - Resource Procurement
184.108.40.206 - Income
2.6.10 - Performance, Value for Money and Co-ordination
220.127.116.11 -Value for Money
3.1 - The Vision
3.2 - Recommendations
This paper provides a strategy for the provision of Judicial and Court services in Jersey between the years 2000 and 2010. The Jersey Legal Information Board (JLIB) was established in 1999 and has already developed a strategy, principally but not exclusively through the exploitation of technology, for the supply and dissemination of legal information. However, there is presently no co-ordinating strategy for the provision of Judicial and Court services in the Island. This paper is intended to fill that gap: its objectives will directly connect with the work of JLIB whose primary business objectives relate to: the strengthening of Jersey’s position as a
leading financial centre; developing
access to justice; and providing an
integrated legal system.
It is necessary to embrace an aim. This paper shares the objective of JLIB namely, to see the Island’s Judicial and Court services being recognised as the global best for a small jurisdiction. This high-level aim can be translated into the vision set out towards the end of this paper, but its attainment will be dependant upon progressive cultural and organisational change with reference to:
- Availability of legal information
- Increased public knowledge
- Provision of community-based help
- Improved access to types and levels of legal advice
- Effective protection of rights
- Enhanced understanding of responsibilities
- Promotion of dispute avoidance
- Effective resolution of disputes
- Ease of
access to justice
- Effective case management
- Efficient court infrastructures and accommodation
- Co-ordination between affected agencies
- Promotion of cost-effective solutions
- Efficient collection of fees
- Adequacy of resourcing
- Effective enforcement of court orders
- Provision of ongoing judicial education
Certain approaches need to be employed in support of the strategy. These include:-
- More comprehensive strategic planning
- Development of strategic partnerships
- Participation by stakeholders
- Empowerment of judges as case-managers
- Ensuring value for money and accountability
- Creating a co-ordinated infrastructure
- Extension of on-line access to legal information
- Increased interaction with, and participation of, stakeholders (citizens, court users, legal professionals and staff)
It is suggested that the aims of the strategy will best be achieved by reference to the progression of various phased, interrelated programmes. The key programmes would cover the areas of:
- Exploitation of Technology
- Civil Justice
- Criminal Justice
- Alternative Dispute Resolution and Dispute Avoidance
- Community-Based and Self-Help
A collection of apparently unrelated but actually homogeneous issues can conveniently be brought together within the Miscellaneous programme.
The remainder of this paper discusses the broad content of each of the programmes.
Utilisation of the emerging technologies is not an end in itself - it is merely a means to an end; nonetheless no modernisation or future development of the Island’s Judicial and Court Services can be considered without regard to the availability and capability of information technology. The necessary extent and pace of investment in the new technologies is a topic already extensively covered by JLIB
. JLIB’s own approach is, rightly, both phased and project-based. Inter-connected projects already under progression by JLIB include:-
- Provision of primary legal information (court judgments, practice directions and principal legislation), on-line, for legal professionals
- Subsequent development of a fully revised, indexed, and historically accessible database, on-line, of all legislation
- Development and implementation of wider legal information systems for on-line public access
- Provision of an open legal network to link with the legal profession
- Provision of video-conferencing facilities for the Island’s judges and courts
- Development of an information map of the legal system and its agencies and users
- Development of electronic case filing
 and management
- Development of mediation and dispute resolution
- Development of public consultation
- Analysing the need for a preventative legal health programme
- Piloting and development of digital sound recording facilities
- Provision of the Jersey Law Reports on-line
JLIB is accordingly tasked (the Bailiff is its chairman) with conceiving and implementing change. Hence, its spirit is necessarily forward looking and duly exploitative of the emerging technologies. However, its approach remains mindful of how Jersey’s legal processes have evolved empirically in the light of the Island’s unique historical, constitutional and social status.
The Island’s civil justice system has served it well. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Royal Court’s special competence in commercial and cross-border litigation is one of the pillars upon which Jersey’s reputation as a
leading financial centre has been established
. The present civil justice model may be said to have 5 principal elements
. These are:-
- A lower court
, (Petty Debts Court) which currently deals with claims of up to £2,500
- A higher court
, (Royal Court) which currently deals with claims over £2,500
- An interlocutory judge
 (Master of the Royal Court)
- An administrative and clerical infrastructure (Judicial and Petty Debts Court Greffes)
- An enforcement arm (Viscount’s Department)
While there is already reasonable co-ordination between these elements, they are all essentially free-standing and reactive in the sense that, to date, they have been largely responsive to external factors, such as the progression of proceedings by Counsel.
However, at the present time the Island’s legal infrastructure offers:
- No developed system of case management
- No developed system for maintaining and extracting case data
- No fast-track Small Claims’ Tribunal
- No pre-trial conference facility
- No formal procedure for the giving of directions on the progression of actions
- No rigidly enforced time-tables in the progression of actions
- No dispute avoidance facility
- No dispute resolution or mediation system
- No electronic service of documentation
- No electronic filing service
- No electronic extract service
- Only a rudimentary electronic information service
These deficiencies represent very real challenges for the Island. However, engagement with such challenges also presents a substantial opportunity. For example: the implementation of a comprehensive system of case management (here using the term in its wider sense to refer to the orderly and assisted progression of litigation to trial) would speed the passage of litigation; it would also, in association with the use of the pre-trial conference and a formal directions’ procedure, act as a screening process likely to have the effect of taking out of the court system at a relatively early stage actions (e.g.) ultimately destined for settlement or non-progression
. The introduction of a fast-track Small Claims Tribunal
, the pre-trial conference facility, and dispute avoidance and resolution procedures would likewise act to provide for the resolution of disputes otherwise than by a full hearing at the higher court level: the courts, and court infrastructure should indeed become a highly efficient and mechanised forum of last resort within an
integrated legal system.
Various of these issues could conveniently be progressed by JLIB in association with the Master of the Royal Court.
JLIB, through its existing projects, or as by-products of them, is of course presently addressing case management in the narrower sense of the term (here referring to the installation of electronic systems facilitating managed case progression) such that the provision of electronic filing
, extraction and information services is, as indicated, already under seminal development in the Judicial Greffe.
2.3 - Programme 3 - Criminal Justice
(back to top)
The Island’s criminal justice system also serves it well. Again, it is supported at Greffe and Viscount’s level. Taking this latter as read, the present basic model may be said to have two further principal elements
. These are:
- A court of summary jurisdiction
 (Magistrate’s Court) which currently deals with offences involving the possible imposition of a fine of up to £2,000 or imprisonment for up to six months.
- A higher court
 (Royal Court) which deals with cases beyond the jurisdictional limit of the Magistrate’s Court; with cases on indictment; and as an appeal court from the Magistrate’s Court.
In recent years, the criminal justice model has been refined such that (e.g.) in relatively serious cases Magistrate Court prosecutions are effectively brought by a public prosecutor; and the (stipendiary) Magistrate no longer acts in all such cases in the manner of a Continental juge d’instruction (or judge-inquisitor). Fast-track (‘paper’) committal to the Royal Court is also now available.
While reasonable co-ordination between the agencies involved in delivering the Island’s system of criminal justice is likewise in evidence, the Island’s legal infrastructure offers at the present time:
- No court diary system offering integration between the work of the Magistrate’s and Royal Courts and affected agencies.
- No integrated case-management (and data) system.
- No video-conferencing facility for the making of bail applications.
Currently, Jersey has no alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation and counselling, capable of resolving legal, commercial and practical issues arising in civil cases. Where such a mechanism is put in place its objective is the attainment of out-of-court settlement of disputes cheaply, speedily and amicably. Dispute resolution generally includes: mediation; provision of neutral evaluation; non-binding evaluation; and binding evaluation. Mediators tend to be court-appointed specialists though community-based mediators are also utilised. Jurisdictions having an established Small Claims’ Tribunal likewise tend to incorporate these facilities within their small claims’ procedure. Where alternative dispute resolution is employed, the mechanism is normally a compulsory part of the civil justice procedure so that (e.g.) a civil action cannot proceed to hearing in a higher court unless the dispute in question has been first subjected unsuccessfully to the process.
It is necessary to distinguish between dispute resolution and avoidance, however. Problems carrying legal dimensions are encountered by us all, throughout our lives. But such problems need not always develop into legal disputes: a wider role of the civil justice system should be in helping people manage such problems in a way that will help to avoid litigious outcomes.
Indeed, though it might sound an ambitious endeavour, it can be forcibly argued that the legal system should strongly participate in the delivery of an educational programme leading to an increased awareness of legal rights and responsibilities so that citizens can be empowered by the law, rather than feel intimidated by it, as so many currently do: it is against such a backcloth that real progress in the avoidance and early resolution of disputes is likely to be achieved.
JLIB should be mindful of the above distinction and furnish appropriate facilities in the context of its intended (a) mediation and dispute resolution and (b) preventative legal health programmes and analysis.
A key question must be asked on behalf of citizens confronting potential disputes: Is easy and affordable access to information and guidance at the correct level available? As said, the wider focus of the judicial system is that it should play its part in helping people to overcome problems before they become disputes. JLIB’s preventative legal health programme might therefore further consider:
At the present time in Jersey the principal community-based organ for the obtaining of advice on legal and associated issues (that is, other than by formal reference to a lawyer) is the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB). Members of the legal profession run a Duty Lawyer scheme which provides legal advice to citizens who refer themselves to CAB. The Jersey CAB website
 is also a good source of general legal and social information.
Consideration might also be given to the development of inter-agency partnerships of the type that has led to the piloting of an Information Point in court in Nottinghamshire: there, the court service and the local community legal service acted in concert to make provision for this facility.
It should also be noted that as a result of the developing library communications’ networks there is potential for growth in the possible use of the Public Library as a delivery channel for community-based information.
However, as JLIB recognises, there is a general need in the Island to develop and implement wider legal information systems for on-line public access
. Additionally, many Jersey law firms already have websites, some of which effectively provide basic legal information on-line. There is much scope for the development of such services so that packaged or customised legal products become available on-line: fixed priced packages for the making of wills or even the obtaining of divorces might in due course be offered in this way; in years to come the development of such services is likely to provide lawyers with a lucrative, if competitive, market. It might be objected that there is a danger here that citizens might mis-understand general or pre-packaged information available on-line. However, these concerns can surely be minimised by adequate signposting and notes of caution.
In proceeding as above one must however be conscious that the information-poor and those who are not computer-literate might easily become marginalised. Not everyone has, or chooses to have, access to the Internet. JLIB should be mindful that for the foreseeable future some people will continue to be more comfortable with face-to-face and verbal communication: traditional CAB approaches and the provision of helplines and contact points (for example, in the Public Library, again, and the States Bookshop) would likewise assist here.
Other issues which need to be addressed within a more co-ordinated approach to the provision of judicial and court services in Jersey include:
At the present time, actual notification of the passage of new legislation in the Island is reliant upon a combination of formal, oral declaration by the Viscount and published notification in the Jersey Gazette (published within the Jersey Evening Post). However, the opportunity can now be taken by JLIB to provide more meaningful promulgation by recourse to on-line services: this would help to satisfy one of JLIB's own objectives: improved notification to citizens that new laws or provisions are now, or will soon be, in force and that their lives are about to be newly or differently regulated.
The States Building
 in St Helier will undergo substantial refurbishment between late 2000 and 2003. This work will include the re-fitting of the Royal Court and the back-up courts housed within the States Building. The refurbishment programme should include sufficient provision and fabric for:
- The use of electronic court rooms
- The use of digital court recording systems
- The making of interlocutory and ex-parte applications by video-link
- The making of bail applications by video-link
- The examination of witnesses by video-link
- The delivery of judgments by video-link
A new Magistrate’s court complex is planned for construction in
St. Helier. The Cap Gemini report
 reflects disturbingly in relation to this that ‘The new Magistrate’s Court complex was designed before the days of the electronic courtroom concept and its design may not be ideal for implementing these facilities; it has been suggested that it may be already too late to change the design.’ The development of the new complex is however now subject to slippage as part of the measures currently being taken to curb inflation in the Island
. Urgent advantage should be taken of this delay by JLIB to ensure that any design omissions are indeed addressed.
The Cap Gemini report postulates various ways in which new technology can assist the working of the Magistrate’s Court and while the content of that report does not fall to be reproduced here it does seem especially important to point out that it is in the Magistrate’s Court that a facility for the making of
bail applications by video-link is likely to be of greatest utility and value.
The HV Benest Room in Morier House is a modern, good quality, well-appointed multi-purpose room. The room was conceived as having the capability of serving as a small-scale electronic court and is already equipped with a large-screen video-conferencing unit supplied by PictureTel. This room also serves as the Coroner’s Court and has already been successfully utilised by the Court of Appeal for the purpose of delivering reserved judgement in cases (on appeal from the Royal Court) remotely via the existing video-link. Especially in circumstances where it becomes necessary to lower expectations in relation to the delivery of a fully paperless court in Jersey, it would seem to be expedient to build upon the existing investment in the H V Benest Room
Obviously, if in due course bail applications are to be heard by video-link, the prison needs to be suitably adapted to accommodate such a facility.
The Jersey Judicial Training Programme (JTP) was launched in 1999. The JTP has a full set of objectives but the delivery and development of the programme should take place having regard to the wider issues and approach set out in this paper.
The co-ordination of the content and issue of court rules, practice directions and circulars is a matter inevitably being developed by JLIB as part of that body’s aims to make legal information available on-line. Nonetheless, such documents need to be formulated and re-formulated likewise having regard to the wider issues discussed in this paper. Their content and issue also needs proactively to provide for the more efficient and effective delivery of judicial and court services in Jersey. At present this process is discrete and largely reactive. It is suggested that the role of the Master of the Royal Court might conveniently be extended to include responsibility for integrating such matters.
The delivery by the Judicial Greffe in the latter part of 2000 of the second phase
 of the PRIDE (Public Registry Index and Document Enrolment) system, which provides for the delivery of a fully electronic Public (Land) Registry should be viewed by JLIB as the completion of a project within its purview. As the Cap Gemini report
 rightly recommends, on-line access to the PRIDE system should be offered to the Jersey Archives Centre; the States Housing and Property Services Departments; and also to the Viscount’s Department
 in order to advance the dissemination and sharing of registry information. The second phase of the PRIDE project involved the capturing of images by digital photography and the experience gained in this context may be of assistance to JLIB elsewhere
. Indeed, the telecommunications infrastructure, and its networking capabilities, established in the context of the delivery of the PRIDE system is likely to be of substantial value in relation to the necessary development of the other on-line information and communications systems referred to in this paper.
The Human Rights (Jersey) Law, 2000, will become effective in the Island by 2002. The purpose of this Law is formally to incorporate in the Island’s domestic law the European Convention on Human Rights. For present purposes the public hearing requirements of the Law are of principal interest. In the longer term, ‘virtual’ and digital technology and wider general access to the Internet should enable a wide variety of on-line hearings to become human rights’ compliant from the public hearing perspective. From the wider human rights’ standpoint, it will certainly be necessary for Convention jurisprudence to develop in tandem with technological advances.
Formal consideration needs to be given by JLIB as to the extent that the sizeable minority population of Portuguese nationals in Jersey has special information and service (especially language) needs in the contexts under discussion.
There is an obvious tension between the advancement of
the information age and rights of personal privacy
. JLIB already recognises the need to manage this conflict: hence, the Data Protection Registrar is a member of JLIB; also, JLIB’s legal information website has a two-tier entry mechanism which protects against open access to sensitive information contained within some court judgments.
On the question of the security and confidentiality of information, it might be objected (e.g.) by some agencies that some of the information held by them should not be disseminated (e.g.) to and across other agencies since to do so would give rise to possible breaches of security and could prejudice the integrity of data. This is a complex area but it is suggested that the integration of many processes between agencies could be safely achieved by reference to pre-defined rules and interfaces, as postulated in the Cap Gemini report.
At the present time, JLIB has no official source of funding. It is principally reliant upon ad hoc funding by the States Central IT Fund (for IT development) and, from the strategic standpoint, by the Jersey Information Society Commission (JISC). However, means should now be found for
JLIB to be specifically funded so that it can proceed with its necessary work within an established budgetary regime.
It is suggested that more efficient collection of fees due for the provision of Judicial and Court services is required of various affected agencies
. It is acknowledged (e.g.) that omissions exist (e.g.) in the efficient collection of fees due when officers or judges of the Courts sit. James Lambert of the Judicial Greffe is however currently addressing whether judicial fees might be levied and collected more effectively, say, by recourse to integrated or ‘intelligent’ electronic systems and his report and recommendations should
be made available to JLIB.
It is necessary for the Court infrastructure to demonstrate that it provides high-quality services giving good value for money. This responsibility can best be discharged by the development of an integrated structure in which the citizen becomes recognised as a rightful user of those services. The Viscount’s Department has a long tradition of Performance Management supportive of the States strategic objectives
; the Judicial Greffe has a maturing one; both Departments offer service pledges and monitor performance against them. However, a mature regime of Strategic and Business planning should be developed and maintained across the entire judicial infrastructure.
Both the States
 and the States Audit Commission
 rightly seek improving value for money and accountability in the management of the public purse. The promotion of a value for money culture is equally applicable in the case of the supply of judicial and court services
. One example of where better value for money might be achieved is in the creative use of court and judicial time
: the proposed jurisdictional changes mentioned with reference to Programmes 2 and 3, above, would relieve burdens unnecessarily borne by the Royal Court and its users. Further, there are already plans to take uncontentious divorces out of the
; whether the passing of contracts for the purchase and sale of land should continue to take place before the Royal Court is at least arguable; the basis upon which preliminary and interlocutory applications are heard either before the Royal Court or its Master is in need of proper definition; and the suitability of the regular Parking Courts which take place at Magistrate’s Court level might also be questioned
. Ultimately, at least in the civil context, only where: there are disputed facts applied to uncertain law; cases require especially sensitive handling; or the Royal Court’s special competence in financial and offshore litigation needs to be called upon, should that court’s jurisdiction be automatically
. (It might be objected that these outcomes would lead to an erosion of heritage - Islanders would be denied the traditional right to their ‘day in court’. In fact, there should be no loss: such modifications seek only to reroute those matters which, objectively speaking, do not fall to be dealt with at a disproportionately high level. All refinements must, in any event, be compatible with Human Rights obligations.)
Like JLIB, the Cap Gemini report emphasises how important it is for the constituent parts of the judicial and court infrastructure to operate in a co-ordinated way. Specifically: interfaces between different systems to allow information to pass electronically between them are required; work-flow systems need to be developed so as to form a backbone of integrated ‘end-to-end’ case handling; and related sections, departments and organisations must keep in touch both with the bigger picture and each other’s own developments. Generally - in spite of the progress already made by JLIB - much work remains to be done in this regard, as the Cap Gemini report demonstrates. It might however also be emphasised that the future requirement is likely to be for far more than an effective court system: services will need to be better and cheaper and truly responsive to users’ needs. Necessarily limited resources need to be applied more effectively across public departments and agencies and unnecessary duplication of effort and documentation avoided: effective business modelling needs to be adhered to and a fully integrated structure created.
The Law Society should be encouraged further to participate in the objective of achieving a co-ordinated legal infrastructure and service
. The Law Society already has representation on JLIB; lawyers are assisting JLIB in developing the wider legal information systems for on-line public access and the preventative legal health analysis; as said, they provide the Duty Lawyer scheme for CAB; the Law Society has been a working partner in the delivery of the PRIDE system; members of the Law Society attend meetings
; and of course legal practitioners provide the Island’s Legal Aid system
JLIB should actively engage with these factors.
The vision of Jersey’s judicial and court services by 2010 is, accordingly, that of a unified system in which the courts are a forum of last resort supported by other techniques and services which ensure that the law is amenable to all. The elements of the vision are:
3.1.1 - A well-informed Island in which self, community and on-line help facilitate the avoidance and resolution of disputes, speedily and cheaply
3.1.2 - A partnership of citizens, community-based agencies, the legal profession and court services, such that disputes are resolved or (where necessary) adjudicated in the spirit of co-ordinated networking
3.1.3 - A fully integrated, accountable and flexible court infrastructure which provides measurable value for money and speedy and efficient services to citizens and users
3.1.4 - A fully developed electronic court interface in which technology facilitates: the dissemination and extraction of information; integrated end-to-end case handling and management; the circulation and presentation of authorities, exhibits and evidence; and the enforcement processes
3.1.5 - A world-class, and fully equipped, court system which continues to underpin Jersey’s standing as a leading financial centre
The following recommendations are accordingly made:
3.2.1 - This strategy, its aims and vision should
be absorbed into JLIB’s strategy and addressed and delivered in conjunction with Cap Gemini’s own report, recommendations and Legal Information Model.
3.2.2 - JLIB should assume responsibility for ensuring the delivery of the aims, aspirations and recommendations of this strategy.
3.2.3 - JLIB should review the extent and priorities of its current projects having regard to the contents of this strategy.
3.2.4 - The central resourcing
 should make
specific and adequate provision for the work of JLIB.
3.2.5 - JLIB should develop more extensively the consultative networks being established via (e.g.) its public consultation and wider legal information systems projects as well as by its networking initiative, LINK (Legal Information Network of Knowledge). All departments, agencies and organs affected by this strategy should participate actively in LINK.
3.2.6 - Those public departments, agencies and organs constituting the Island’s present judicial infrastructure should demonstrate integrated adherence to the aspirations of this strategy, performance management and the adoption of core service standards.
3.2.7 - As a precursor to the availability of a comprehensive system of case management the Judges and Master of the Royal Court should in combination exercise more direct and pro-active control upon the course of civil litigation.
3.2.8 - JLIB should seek to accelerate the processes relating to the raising of the lower court jurisdictional limits mentioned in this paper.
3.2.9 - Succession planning and management development in the Judicial Greffe should be designed to support this strategy.
These are the issues, considerations and recommendations insofar as we can presently conceive them. Of course, the content and applicability of this paper - incorporating as it does a long term vision - must be the subject of constant monitoring and review.
Michael Wilkins and Kate Jeggo, St Helier, Jersey.
(2nd Edition, Approved in Principle by JLIB, November 2000)
[64 ] That is, the Policy & Resources, Finance & Economics, and Human Resource Committees of the States.
 These might include, for example: the States Prison, the
Prison Board of Visitors and the Jersey Consumer Council.