Since the beginning of the 1980s, the Austrian judicial system has been building up a comprehensive IT network in order to make optimum use of the options which the digital world offers for its tasks. This network supports the nationwide use of IT: all courts, public prosecutors' offices, prisons and the Federal Ministry of Justice can cooperate through IT via the Federal Computing Centre, which is the hub running all major applications of the judicial system.
Verfahrensautomation Justiz or VJ (which is described as “electronic case management”) is the electronic register which has proven its worth for many years. ERV, the electronic legal transactions system, enables almost all filings to court and service of court papers to be made electronically; this has also played a major role in increasing efficiency. The electronic notice board (Ediktsdatei), which can be accessed free of charge at www.edikte.justiz.gv.at, is in particular used for the publication of insolvency proceedings, judicial auctions, edicts from criminal and civil proceedings, announcements, notices and notifications, judicial receiverships, voluntary sales, publications by companies, a list of mediators, receivers and courts. In addition, further publications provided for by law are continuously made available via the electronic notice board. The case law documentation of the judiciary is also available on the Internet free of charge within the framework of the Federal Legal Information System (RIS) at www.ris.bka.gv.at. Another example is the search for court-certified experts and interpreters, which has been simplified significantly by the creation of the website www.sdgliste.justiz.gv.at.
The Justice 3.0 strategic initiative of the Federal Ministry of Justice has involved all professional groups and professional associations on the way to eJustice; for several years, the initiative has i.a. been addressing the question of how the IT workplaces of the judicial system should be designed in the future so that the judicial system will be able to offer its services to citizens and businesses in a modern and efficient manner in the face of constantly growing workload and increasing challenges. In this context, the integrated computerised workplace for the judicial system - the electronic integration portal (eIP) - is being created for all those working in the system; in addition to providing digital, mobile, individually structurable and thus ergonomic judicial files, the eIP is to combine all the key advantages of digitalised work. Accompanying measures for expanding the ERV system as well as opening further electronic communication channels between business and citizens (enabling e.g. the electronic inspection of files) are being implemented or are on the digital agenda of the project.
As of 1 July 2019, experts and interpreters have been obliged to use the ERV system. Since 1 December 2019, experts have been receiving all mail and service from authorities via the new eZustellung (“eService”) system. Whilst it was previously required to send paper files to experts so these could draw up expert opinions, the file content is now made available electronically. Another advantage is that the former practice of involving one expert after the other could be largely replaced by information to several experts in parallel and simultaneously. This has made a significant contribution to speeding up proceedings.
All these digital tools enable the Austrian judicial system to conduct and conclude a wide variety of proceedings in a high-quality, fast and efficient manner. Austria’s court-certified experts and interpreters contribute significantly to this as they support and accompany digital progress in the judicial system in an open-minded and welcoming way.