Lawyers in the UK are to receive tablet computers to save £50m – how will this help the transition to digital dictation?

Tablet computers in court

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England and Wales is preparing to roll out a new scheme which will introduce tablet computing to all courtrooms up and down the country. Prosecutors in Norwich will be the first to trial the scheme before it is launched nationwide. By April 2012, the move will see all judges, jurors and defence barristers replace documentation and evidence on paper with tablet computers containing everything they need to conduct court hearings. Hard copies will be retained in the early stages, and the tablets will only be used in less serious cases initially.

A mock trial is being conducted at Norwich crown court, where prosecutors are testing the new system using 35 HP TouchPad tablet computers thought to be worth around £1000 each. However, by reducing the amount of time spent on paperwork and admin, it is hoped that the tablet computers will save £50m by 2015, helping the CPS to offset some of the 25% cuts in funding they will face over the next four years. In the future, police officers may also make a similar move and be able to send evidence electronically, putting more officers on the streets and less behind desks.

Transition to digital dictation

Transcription Global are excited about the prospect of the legal sector embracing all new digital technology, especially when it saves time and money. The introduction of tablet computing into the UK’s courtrooms also brings other major benefits, such as the opportunity for barristers to make the transition to digital dictation. On tablet computers such as the iPad, it is very simple to dictate digitally using a free, off the shelf app such as Dragon Dictation or Dictamus. Once dictated, the audio files can be quickly and securely uploaded to our file management system to be transcribed by experienced legal secretaries. This does away with the need for antique dictation machines or tape recorders, and the time and money you save can be reinvested into more productive business activities.

Digital dictation is more efficient, can be returned quicker and gives a better result than most other forms of dictation, so lawyers should grab the opportunity to make the transition when the roll out of tablet computers in courtrooms begins next year.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video