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European Court of Human Rights improves document management with OpenText eDOCS

Sophie Curtis | April 24, 2013
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is using a document management system from OpenText to handle applications and disseminate case law more efficiently.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is using a document management system from OpenText to handle applications and disseminate case law more efficiently.

The court, based in Strasbourg, France, employs around 800 staff, and handles in excess of 64,000 case applications each year. The court also has a responsibility to make available case law and other public documentation and receives more than 4.6 million visitors to its website each year.

"For a lot of people in the world, human rights is very important. We have this public duty to make available to as wide an audience as possible the judgements of the court," said John Hunter, Head of IT at ECHR, in an interview with Techworld.

"Probably 90 percent of the applications we receive will be deemed inadmissible, but we still have to sift through them and make quick decisions on them, so that real just satisfaction is given to the other 10 percent of applications that come to the court that are actually looking for justice."

ECHR had long been using OpenText eDOCS at the heart of its Court Management Information System (CMIS) database, but the court was faced with a growing case load, resulting in higher than ever document volumes, and it also needed to start integrating with other court systems.

It therefore adopted version 5.3 of eDOCS, which allows the organisation to capture all types of documents both inbound and outbound, including case notes and emails, in order to build up a complete view of any case, application or other interaction.

The solution not only manages documents related to the core activity of the court, but also personnel, finance, and other administration documentation. All documents are categorised and, where required, are then fed into the case management system.

"The reason what we liked OpenText's solution is that it's completely integrated with the Microsoft Office pack, which meant that we had very little training to do to our users. It also gave us the flexibility that you could be in any application and have access to the system to find documents easily," said Hunter.

Document approvals are handled via a workflow system based on Microsoft SharePoint. All users can instantly check on the status of a task and call up any related documentation from eDOCS. Users can access their work tasks from one central point, without the need for numerous emails alerting them to new or updated tasks.

The court has also introduced electronic signatures into its workflow processes. This means that there is now no need to print, sign, and then scan back into the system documents requiring signature, saving time and money. A full audit trail is also retained, aiding internal compliance.

 

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