Legal Aid Agency
The Crown Court Digital Case System (DCS) is now being rolled out in a further seven early adopter areas following a successful pilot in Leeds and Southwark:
- Merthyr Tydfil
This is being done in tandem with the piloting of Better Case Management in early adopter courts, which was announced early in October 2015 see news article under further information.
What is Crown Court DCS?
The Crown Court DCS is an online system which reduces the need to handle paper case material across the criminal justice system.
It means that case material can be accessed, prepared and presented digitally by the judge, clerk, defence, prosecution and probation.
The system makes it simpler for all court users to navigate the bundle. There are also useful features such as bookmarks and notes which allow you to:
- highlight key arguments or evidence
- assist in summations
- help with cross examining
- link quickly to key documents
You can also control access levels to any notes or annotations you make.
Access and training for Crown Court DCS
Practitioners need to have a live CJSM account and either sign-up to CJSM Secure eMail or have the password reset to liven-up the account if they have not used it for more than 90 days.
Activities are taking place in the early adopter areas where local teams are contacting practitioners to encourage them to take advantage of the support and training that is available. Online training is also available see further information.
Legal aid claims after DCS rollout
Evidence sourced from the prosecuting authority is still required for the Legal Aid Agency to objectively assess and validate LGFS and AGFS claims for Crown Court work. This includes:
- committal bundle or notice of additional evidence (NAE) front sheets endorsed with the CPS/prosecuting authority page count
- index of evidence
- paginated pages
- any other objective evidence generated by the prosecution
How do I obtain evidence for AGFS/LGFS claims?
There is a Legal Aid Agency report button in Crown Court DCS which can be used to extract the above evidence for your claims.
This report can be downloaded as a PDF and printed off in order to submit a valid claim to the LAA. With the introduction of Crime Billing Online it will be possible to attach this document electronically to the digital claim.
The LAAs longer-term objective is to have direct access to the Crown Court DCS for all caseworkers. Discussions are taking place to make this possible.