HOW STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF THE U.S. JUDICIAL SYSTEM HAVE AFFECTED THE TAKE-UP OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY BY COURTS

Peter W Martin

Abstract


Given the centrality of information and communication to the activities and institutions of law it is not surprising that during the early turbulent days of the digital revolution enthusiasts imagined that the new technology would work dramatic changes on this critical sphere, changes far greater in magnitude than those flowing from such past innovations as calculators, tape recorders, or copy machines. Students of government and consultants drew analogies between transformations taking place in the private sector (the emergence of e-commerce and distributed, virtual enterprises) and what governments might or should or would become (e-government). Greater efficiency, improved accessibility and performance, and even gains in public accountability were predicted.
Judged against such visions and the changes digital technology has brought about in important commercial areas over the past decade, the take-up of digital technology by U.S. courts has been both slow and uneven. This chapter examines some of the institutional factors that produced this result.

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