13 Dicembre 2023

How the Microsoft Cloud and AI are transforming court operations

Courts are the root of trust in modern society. When access to justice is administered fairly and well, the public can trust that the foundations of their communities are sound. When the systems that support court operations fall short, it erodes trust and puts governments at risk.  

At Microsoft for Government, our commitment is to help courts earn trust within their communities through solutions and outcomes that increase fairness, accountability, and transparency for all. We work with courts and other government agencies to transform court operations with technology that empowers everyone in the justice system—from judges to defendants, attorneys to prosecutors, and the many agencies and stakeholders across the legal ecosystem.  

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Two people looking at tablet outside of courthouse.

Courts face unique challenges modernizing technology 

Judges and government leaders recognize the potential of generative AI and cloud computing to transform operations and solve some of their greatest challenges. Here are four major areas where modern technology can help: 

  1. Disparate systems across agencies and justice partners. Courts have traditionally been reluctant to adopt cloud-based solutions for a variety of reasons. This puts the justice ecosystem at risk as on-premises legacy systems and siloed data solutions don’t work together. The result is inadequate information sharing across agencies and stakeholders, compounding increases in costs and time to perform work. Moving court systems and data to Microsoft Azure can help streamline secure communication across the ecosystem for a human-centric approach and a 360-degree view of all stakeholders and their needs. 
  2. Antiquated case management systems. Limited by disparate systems and disconnected data, many courts are hampered by bottlenecks in processes, an increased incidence of errors, and greater security risks. Interoperable case management systems that unify data and enable seamless, low-friction, and compliant court experiences, while reducing delays and gaps in data and operational costs. 
  3. Limitations with hybrid hearings. COVID-19 revealed that many courts were inadequately prepared to deliver hybrid hearings when in-person sessions were not an option, resulting in numerous backlogs and delays. Cloud-based solutions, like virtual hearings, improved remote participation in all hearing types, with the exception of some trials. It delivers better evidence management and presentation capabilities, draft document sharing, digital court recording, and greater control over proceedings, as well as improves attendance.
  4. Manual processes and limited analytics. Legacy approaches to data storage and management, including paper-based records management, inherently slow down processes and generate losses. These can be dramatically minimized with a modern cloud platform and enhanced productivity tools. Beyond improving records management, compliance, and security, a modern digital platform can improve interoperability across agencies, derive important insights from unified data, and enable new solutions that take advantage of generative AI capabilities. 

How Microsoft is helping courts to move to AI 

In our efforts to drive digital transformation with courts, we employ a high-level business architecture that meets the requirements of three main groups: court staff, external users, and administration personnel (court, state, and federal). We work with leadership to define potential applications and portal solutions for each, and define a baseline set of infrastructure requirements to enable them all.  

The goal is to help courts succeed in achieving these key benefits: 

  • Increase agility and efficiency. Like all government agencies, courts must adapt to changing demands and requirements, and evolve their operations to improve flexibility and efficiency. The infrastructure of hyperscale cloud enables court systems and staff to scale and innovate quickly, while maintaining compliance and operational excellence. Generative AI can help the court staff execute critical court processes, like generating daily court correspondence workloads.   
  • Accelerate delivery of essential services. The public expects fast, seamless access to government services, including courts. Hyperscale cloud and solutions powered by AI enable courts to deliver personalized experiences and inclusive programs that provide and improve accessibility and fairness for stakeholders across the justice system, helping to deliver better outcomes for all. Moreover, implementing generative AI solutions can help improve information sharing and communications across agencies and processes, bypassing the bottlenecks that can arise from legacy solutions.  
  • Access advanced cybersecurity technology. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and damaging, with ransomware attacks in particular targeting court operations across the United States. The hyperscale cloud provides world-class protection, with advanced security embedded into the platform to protect against the vast majority of known, preventable attacks. 

Most courts need to address infrastructure first—in other words, finish the migration to a hyperscale cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure that provides a secure and compliant multi-tenant infrastructure. The next step is to get data in order with a data analytics platform such as Microsoft Fabric, which can consolidate and manage data silos and lay the foundation for the era of AI. Then an organization can work with Azure OpenAI Service and begin exploring new use cases and solutions using generative AI. 

The list of customer success stories based on Microsoft solutions is growing, and includes the following: 

  • The Orange County Superior Court (OCSC) consolidated more than 70 million paper files across three disparate case management systems into a single data warehouse, greatly improving efficiency and setting the stage to apply advanced analytics and build AI-powered solutions.  
  • The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles was the first court in the nation to adopt a virtual hearings solution called Unicorn Digital Courtroom from Tech Unicorn, improving attendance and increasing efficiency in an estimated 37,000 hearings per month. 
  • Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation built a search engine to give the public digital access to the court’s historical documents and other information to research cases, resolutions, precedents, and more. The AI-powered model enables access for anyone regardless of their knowledge of legal language.  

In my work with courts, I find that the major factor for success is leadership—visionary judges and leaders who drive culture change within the organization and shifting their mindsets around growth and opportunity. When I meet a judge or court leader who is considering the benefits, costs, and risks of modernization, I connect them with people in the same roles in other jurisdictions who have had success with their digital transformation journeys.  

The key is to make a commitment, take a strategic approach, and choose a technology partner who will be with you every step of the way. Transforming court operations is a long-term journey, but one that delivers benefits early and often. We are excited to work with our customers and partners to digitally transform court operations globally, and ultimately help provide fairness and justice through the courts for all. 

Learn more  

To learn more about how we can help in your court’s cloud journey, visit our website, read our Microsoft for Government e-book, or get in touch with your Microsoft sales representative or technology partner.

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Source: Microsoft Industry Blog