During January 2022, the District Administrative Court of the city of Kyiv received more than 3,700 lawsuits, and only 112 of them were filed through the "Electronic Court". In the previous two years, the trend was the same – the number of citizens who applied for the protection of their rights using one of the ECITS modules did not exceed 3%. The rest is sent by mail or by hand (during the quarantine – through a mailbox).
Only one of the 112 lawsuits filed since the beginning of the year through the "Electronic Court" came from a subject of authority – the Main Department of the State Service of Ukraine for Emergency Situations in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Despite the fact that the court receives almost a third of claims from the state tax service, none of these claims were sent through the "Electronic Court". It is worth noting that cases of this category, as a rule, contain a large number of appendices of tens or even hundreds of pages.
It seems quite strange that state bodies have opportunities for electronic communication with the court, but ignore them even, for example, in terms of receiving information from the court through the electronic office of the tax service. Instead, we have thousands of paper lawsuits that court employees scan and add to the Specialized Court Records computer program.
It seems that state bodies do not use the "Electronic Court" for the following reasons:
- Responsible employees of these institutions do not consider this means of communication with the court to be convenient and reliable.
- There are no levers that would encourage saving court costs, that is, state funds for postal delivery. In particular, mailing a claim with attachments can cost from UAH 80 and reach much higher costs depending on the volume (cost of paper, envelopes and postage stamps). And if the claim is filed by hand, accordingly, in addition to paper, human resources and time are wasted. In particular, in the case of consideration of the case based on the location of the subject of authority, all materials (except notifications) are received by representatives of such bodies only in court in accordance with clause 12 of Art. 171 KASU.
- Due to the lack of interaction between units and specialists responsible for the implementation of electronic document management in the executive authorities with their colleagues in the judicial authorities, some processes of information exchange are slowed down, and employees are forced to perform additional work. This is, for example, the scanning of paper documents created by printing electronic copies from local document management systems of state bodies by court employees.
However, ignoring electronic communications has certain advantages for subjects of power. First of all, these are the uncertain deadlines for obtaining procedural documents. After all, electronic communication (provided there are no technical obstacles) significantly shortens the time it takes to receive messages. For example, today's court ruling on the opening of proceedings, by which the court obliges the subject of authority to publish a notice of appeal of a normative legal act, obliges to start counting the term for its implementation from the moment of receipt. And in the case of using electronic communication, a reference to the slow work of the post office, which "delayed" court correspondence, or the recipient's absence from the workplace (due to sick leave, vacation) will look ridiculous. "Electronic court" forces the user to calculate the terms stipulated by the CASU from the moment the message enters the electronic cabinet.
Having extensive experience in handling administrative cases, I can say with confidence that it is the representatives of the subjects of power who most often voice the various reasons for untimely receipt of correspondence, its long registration and movement from one structural unit to another.
Given such a small percentage of use of the "Electronic Court" by state bodies, a logical question arises: will citizens who apply or plan to apply to the court for the protection of their rights have confidence in this method of communication with the court? Were the developers concerned at all with this issue and what measures were implemented to familiarize with the possibilities and problems of the "Electronic Court"?
The growth of trust in the latest means of communication depends on their convenience, efficiency and safety. And as shown by the recent cyber attack, which on the night of January 13-14, 2022 disabled a number of resources of state authorities, including the judiciary, we are not all right with security either. Today, a month after the intervention, the process of eliminating its consequences is still ongoing.
The main task of all the latest communication technologies is fast and high-quality transmission of information. However, we currently have a situation where developers are focused on the very process of implementing technologies without analyzing such innovations and correcting current problems.
Obviously, before the introduction of the "Electronic Court" (read – spending significant funds), the developers had to evaluate the existing normative regulation of electronic communications, the capabilities of those who are offered to use the digital platform of communication with the courts; to carry out appropriate work with representatives of the subjects of authority in order to convince, and sometimes teach them to use this method.
Instead, today we have a situation where, 4 months after the launch of the "Electronic Court", the number of users has practically not increased, and it is not yet known when this situation may change.