Within the scope of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Ministry of Justice organised, on the 26th and 27th of April, the High Level e-Justice Conference "For a people-centred e-Justice".
You can access the conclusions, resume of the presentations and vídeos in the eBook produced for the Conference.
Digital transformation has profoundly changed people’s lives and will continue to do so in the future. In the area of justice as well, digitalisation has played an important role and is recognised as a way of improving the access to justice, and the efficiency, quality and transparency of the justice systems.
For more than a decade, the European Union (EU) has adopted successive strategies and action plans in this area. The e-Justice Strategy and its European e-Justice Action Plan for 2019-2023 are currently in the process of implementation.
The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed that digital technologies are essential to ensure access to justice and to strengthen the resilience of national systems.
In a troubled period, it is therefore unavoidable to talk about digitalisation and take advantage of the opportunities offered by emerging technologies, such as the artificial intelligence.
For these reasons, the Portuguese Presidency has identified the digitalisation of justice as one of the priorities of its programme in order to continue and deepen the process of digital transition.
The Council's Conclusions on Shapping Europe’s Digital Future, of 9 June 2020, address a wide range of issues related to the implementation of the European Union’s digital strategy, inviting the Commission to adopt measures to enable civil and criminal judicial cooperation between Member States.
At the JHA Council of 9 October 2020, the Ministers of Justice endorsed the conclusions on Access to Justice – Seizing the opportunities of digitalisation, encouraging Member States to make greater use of digital tools in legal proceedings.
The Commission's communication A toolbox of opportunities, of 2 December 2020, defined a new approach on the basis of a comprehensive set of of legal, financial and IT instruments to be used by the various stakeholders, according to their needs.
The Member States must therefore take advantage of the support and funding provided by the European Commission through the Digital Europe Programme, for the development of electronic solutions and tools and for the training of judicial operators.
At the Informal meeting of Ministers of Justice of 29 January 2021, the subject e-justice – towards a comprehensive and inclusive digitalisation process was again addressed and it was reaffirmed the need to continue to move forward in this process, which must be centred on the people, be inclusive and leave no one behind.
The agreement was expressed to explore the potential of new technologies and the need to avoid automatic decisions and to maintain the human dimension in the administration of justice was stressed, respecting fundamental rights, ensuring a fair and equitable, transparent and public process.