Vic courts prepare to replace aging mainframe system

Mainframe-based Courtlink system close to three decades’ old

Court Services Victoria (CSV) is preparing to replace a complex collection of aging case management systems employed by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria, including a mainframe-based system that is almost 30 years’ old.

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria is one of the busiest courts in Australia, according to CSV. Its systems deal with more than 300,000 cases and more than 1 million transactions every year. It is the key source for data on prior convictions for Victoria Police and VicRoads.

The Children’s Court of Victoria hears more than 45,000 cases every year, many of which are highly complex.

Between them, the courts currently employ a range of manual and automated processes that sit on top of nine case management systems.

The core system is an aging mainframe-based system, Courtlink, which was first installed 30 years ago. Since it was originally rolled out, Courtlink has had additional reporting tools bolted on and been subject to a number of enhancements, according to CSV.

CSV is seeking expressions of interest from suppliers that can supplier a replacement case management system (or systems).

The organisation said it is seeking an off-the-shelf system that requires minimal customisation and has previously been used in a Western democracy with a comparable justice system to Victoria’s.

“It is vital that the solution can be configured to our environment, and interface with our partner systems,” CSV CEO David Ware said.

“The intent of the EOI process is to ensure that when we get to the request for proposal stage of the procurement process, we have a number of shortlisted providers with proposed solutions that are closely aligned with the expectations of the courts.”

The replacement will need to cover civil and criminal cases and offer case and participant management functions.

CSV said it plans to release a request for proposal in October and begin negotiations with the shortlisted supplier or suppliers in January 2019.

Funding for the new case management system was earmarked in the Victorian government’s 2017-18 budget. The new system is intended to address some of the key recommendations made by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

“The system will enable better information sharing between the Courts and other agencies, and provide better access to case information, including details relevant to family violence intervention order applications,” a document released by CSV states.

“This will enable more efficient management of the Courts and inform judicial decisions that help keep victims safe.”

“The current systems are up to 30 years’ old, and whilst they are delivering within the scope of which they were developed, they are presenting a significant barrier to meeting service expectations and handling growing demand in the two courts,” Ware said.

“A number of the recommendations from the Royal Commission focused on better sharing of information between government agencies,” the CEO said.

“The new CMS is vital to deliver on these, ensuring appropriate information is shared quickly and securely, better supporting vulnerable people in our community,” he added.

The Supreme Court of Victoria recently undertook a wide-ranging digital transformation program that included shifting its case management system to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

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