The Irish Courts Service has awarded a contract for the delivery and management of a Digital Audio Recording (DAR) system in courtrooms nationwide to Fujitsu. As part of this contract, which is valued in excess of €16m, Fujitsu will provide a fully managed service including the provision of the underlying DAR system, a secure data storage environment and the subsequent production and delivery of court transcripts as required.
Commenting on the award of the DAR contract to Fujitsu, PJ Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer, Courts Service said; “Digital Audio Recording will replace the existing stenography system which has been in place for many years. The courts are not immune to developments in technology generally and this new system, based as it is on digital technology, will provide Judges with increased levels of support within the courtroom and is a further step in our overall change modernisation programmme.”
Initial implementation of the system will be on a pilot basis in a small number of courtrooms throughout the country. This pilot will be followed by an extensive implementation programme which will see the deployment of the system to all courtrooms nationwide.
On completion, proceedings in all courtrooms will be recorded providing an accurate record of evidence in all cases which can be subsequently accessed for the preparation of transcripts or for playback either within the courtroom or otherwise as required.
“Digital Audio Recording is being used successfully in courts in many jurisdictions across the globe. The ambitious DAR programme is testimony to the progressive nature of the Courts Service team and their ICT strategy. There is no doubt that the system and processes that will be put in place here will be among the most advanced in the world, said Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu. “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to implementing our customer’s vision for this area of the Irish Courts Service.”
As part of this contract, Fujitsu will be providing an ‘on request’ transcript service using the specialist skills of Merrill Legal, who are the current providers of stenography services to the Irish Courts. On receipt of a request for a transcript of all or part of the proceedings in a case, the Digital Audio file will be accessed automatically, via a secure private network, by Merrill Legal, who will undertake the transcription and deliver the transcribed material.
Key Benefits of the system include:
The contract was awarded to Fujitsu following a competitive Open EU Procurement process and is for an initial period of five years with the option to extend for a further two years. Fujitsu has a track record in successfully delivering solutions and services to the Irish Courts Service, having been awarded the contract to provide ICT Managed Services in 2003.
John Coyle, Director of ICT Courts Service commenting on the potential for the DAR system within the Courts Service said; “The introduction of Digital Audio Recording is a further step on our path to introduce modern technology to the court system where its introduction can provide efficiencies and value added services which contribute to the administration of justice”.
The Digital Audio Recording system pilot is due to commence in March 2008.
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