Users of our courts should be heartened to know that our Supreme Court judges, (wrongly) stereotyped as fusty relics, are doing much of their work on iPads.
On their iPads they annotate written arguments, track oral argument, write notes, refer to research material and case texts and more. I'm told they've been using iAnnotate competently for some time. I don't know whether newly promoted Arnold J is up with the play, but if not, I'm sure he soon will be.
The time must be approaching when counsel who cannot supply materials in the electronic format will risk disadvantaging their clients. Victoria Casey has nicely reflected (now in Law Talk) a lawyer's first experience of a Court where the complete case presentation was built around iPads. It was adopted as the only realistic way to manage the documents in the first price control input methodology merit review proceeding under Part 4 of the Commerce Act. To be honest I did not pick up some features as quickly as she did, and I fear that skills I've not recently practised will have evaporated from memory. But generally my colleagues who worked on that case (Nikki Pender and Jordan Williams) share Victoria's view of how well it worked.
At the Supreme Court this modernisation happened without too much process, evaluation, committee meetings, and general agonising. Understandably, after Incis, and now Novopay, government IT procurement decisions are fraught with back-covering process. Instead the Supreme Court judges were persuaded by one early adopter that they should all gain the efficiency advantages enhanced by sharing the same software and hardware. Avoiding the painful processes of Ministry budgetary approval, they each bought their own.
Perhaps Justice Arnold, if he is not already equipped, will ask the Ministry to fund him into getting with the programme. It can't be more than a fraction of the cost of the horse-hair wig and gown sets that connect the court in the opposite direction with our 600 year consitutional inheritance.
Maybe the consultants now wondering how to insulate government IT procurement against more debacles could create a win/win exception to the normal back-covering processes. Take a tip from the Supreme Court – if more than say half the relevant IT users are happy to pay for their own state of the art kit, and pioneer with it, then it can become standard entitlement issue and a full roll-out should be funded.