Trends in State Courts: Interoperable Court Technology

The article “Assembling a Case Management System with LEGO®-like Blocks” (PDF) provides a vision of and standards for interoperable court technology. The Court Component Model was included in the National Center for State Courts’ 2020 Trends in State Courts.

An illustration from the Trends in State Courts article

The work of courts is challenging. It is time to create a technology environment where courts can choose and easily implement the software they need to get their work done.

John T. Matthais, Court Technology Consultant, National Center for State Courts
Dunrie Greiling, Market and Product Strategy, Matterhorn by Court Innovations

The article contrasts the current state of court technology with a vision of interoperability.

At this time, courts and clerks manage a suite of (often) disconnected applications to support the court’s daily activities. These range from sharing information with the public, handling documents, tracking cases, accounting for payments, and more.

Lack of integration between these applications means that data must be entered more than once by court staff or the public or both. Not only does this take extra time, hand entry introduces errors.

One answer is building bigger systems that contain all of the needed functionality.

The court case management system industry has a legacy of monolithic one-size-fits-all solutions where one vendor has tightly connected components that meet most of a court’s case management needs and are typically implemented all at once.

John T. Matthais, Court Technology Consultant, National Center for State Courts
Dunrie Greiling, Market and Product Strategy, Matterhorn by Court Innovations

Using separate components is a modern alternative to monolithic systems. Components offer more options and can be implemented iteratively over time. They also allow the court to change components as their needs change over time.

These components must work together despite different origins (whether open source, internally developed, custom software, commercial off the shelf solutions). Real-world examples of this type of interoperability include LEGO® blocks and video/media system components.

The court community and the vendor community increasingly support the idea that case management components should be able to be procured from different vendors (“best of breed”), with the ability to add or swap components as needed, and that the components should be able to work together without customization. NCSC is facilitating this initiative, called the Court Component Model.

John T. Matthais, Court Technology Consultant, National Center for State Courts
Dunrie Greiling, Market and Product Strategy, Matterhorn by Court Innovations

The Court Component Model provides a vision for and standards to support the integration needed in court case management specifically and court technology generally.

Intrigued? Get the full article (PDF) from the National Center for State Courts website.

Learn more about Interoperable Court Technology

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