In Tallinn’s courtrooms, judges’ benches are fitted with two monitors, for
consulting information during the proceedings, and case files are assembled
according to the once-only principle. The police make reports directly into
the system; forensic specialists at the scene or in the lab do likewise.
Lawyers log on—as do judges, prison wardens, plaintiffs, and defendants,
each through his or her portal. The Estonian courts used to be notoriously
backlogged, but that is no longer the case.
“No one was able to say whether we should increase the number of courts or
increase the number of judges,” Timo Mitt, a manager at Netgroup, which the
government hired to build the architecture, told me. Digitizing both
streamlined the process and helped identify points of delay. Instead of
setting up prisoner transport to trial—fraught with security risks—Estonian
courts can teleconference defendants into the courtroom from prison. ↱