Irish Courts Services invest €16m in recording system

24 Jan 2008

IT services company Fujitsu has been awarded a major €16m IT contract to implement a digital audio recording (DAR) system throughout Ireland’s courts system.

Under the terms of the deal with the Irish Courts Service, 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.

The system will be initially deployed on a pilot basis in a number of courtrooms.

If this is successful an extensive implementation programme will see the DAR system deployed in all courtrooms nationwide.

Following this, all proceedings in Irish courtrooms will be recorded to provide an accurate record of evidence in cases, which can be accessed for the preparation of transcripts or for subsequent playback.

“Digital Audio Recording will replace the existing stenography system which has been in place for many years,” explained PJ Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer of the Courts Service.

“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 programme,” Fitzpatrick added.

As part of the contract Fujitsu will provide an ‘on request’ transcript service using the specialist skills of Merrill Legal, which currently provides stenography services.

Once a transcript request is made, the audio file of the case concerned will be accessible over a secure private network and a transcript will be prepared.

The contract was awarded to Fujitsu following a competitive, open-EU procurement process and the contract is spread out over five years with an option for a further two years.

“Digital Audio Recording is being used successfully in courts in many jurisdictions around the globe,” said Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu.

“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,” Moran added.

By John Kennedy