A Connecting Europe Success Story
How the Slovenian Supreme Court used CEF eDelivery to speed up the judicial process
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By using the CEF AS4 profile and CEF’s conformance testing platform the team at the Slovenian Supreme Court has succeeded in speeding up the judicial process, saved staff from mundane tasks and generated savings of over €4.5M per year.
Why was the project setup?
Whenever a court makes a decision, the actors affected need to be notified by registered delivery in accordance with procedural law. The law states that a court cannot impose a penalty - civil or criminal - against an individual who has not received notice. Registered delivery ensures that the notification is received by the actor or ensures the court has evidence that the actor has had a fair chance to receive the information. Actors might include individuals, businesses or government entities. In the past, courts would need to print letters, put them in envelopes, stamp them and send them via the registered postal service. This is a costly and labour intense process. The Supreme Court in Slovenia which is responsible for the information systems of all courts in Slovenia took up the challenge of digitising the process by developing an electronic delivery solution.
What are the benefits of the project?
The first release of the electronic delivery system in 2011 was used for insolvency and land registry procedures. In its first year the system delivered over 120 000 electronic messages. By 2014 electronic delivery was introduced into the enforcement procedure taking the total number of electronic deliveries for that year, to just under 800 000. The huge number of hours staff spent on mundane tasks including printing, enveloping and sending letters was re-invested in accelerating the judicial procedure.
Jože Rihtaršič, one the technical leads on the project, explains how they started thinking bigger than court decisions, when they started talking to their customers. It was clear that:
- Citizens wanted one central secure legal mailbox, through which they could communicate with the courts and other parts of government.
- SMEs wanted to be able to buy a software subscription from service providers so they could exchange messages with different parts of government.
- Larger enterprises wanted to build their own software and integrate the messaging system into their existing infrastructure and application landscape.
If the team at the Slovenian Supreme Court could build a universal platform that could be used for G2C, G2B and G2G and communication they would make life easier for citizens, businesses and public entities well beyond the scope of the courts. Transforming the existing electronic delivery platform for courts into a universal message exchange platform required some thought.
How do the CEF building blocks fit in?
Having monitored the development of the e-Codex project, the team examined how the project used CEF eDelivery to connect justice systems with different technology stacks across Member States. The team recognised that no matter if you are working at local, regional, national or European level, basing a solution on a common European standard like AS4 has far reaching benefits (see our AS4 fact sheet).
If all the actors in the ecosystem use the same protocol to exchange messages, citizens can have a single secure mailbox to exchange messages with public administrations. Public administrations can plug into an existing platform, save development costs and share infrastructure and maintenance costs. Software vendors and service providers will benefit from a common European standard, as they can develop, maintain and implement the same solutions with many customers. Based on this vision, the team created a proposal for a unified platform based on the CEF AS4 profile.
How was the project implemented?
The team got to work and created a demo to show how service providers could connect to the platform and exchange messages with the Slovenian Supreme Court. In fact, Jože used the eDelivery service offering canvas as a model to create and communicate the services his team provides to his customers. "You have a great platform for testing if a solution is compliant to technical standards. The methodology you used for your testing platform is a great example, it helped us setup our own testing platform. We are not just using the technical specifications, we are copying the methodology too.”
By creating the testing platform and engaging with stakeholders in the private sector, the team learned of new requirements and test cases they could run to ensure the platform was attractive to private sector actors. For example, the team worked with several banks who are key actors in the judicial ecosystem as they enforce small claims.
The eDelivery platform the Slovenian Court created was named Laurentius, after the Slovenian Lovrenc Košir, one of inventors of the postage stamp. Laurentius passed the European Commission's CEF eDelivery conformance testing in September 2016 and became listed as an AS4 compliant solution on CEF Digital. In testing the platform has handled over 10,000 messages per day, the plan is to roll it out in production to G2C, G2B and G2G services throughout 2018.
“You have a great platform for testing if a solution is compliant to technical standards."
Jože Rihtaršič, Technical Lead at the Supreme Court in Slovenia
Next up, CEF eSignature.
Jože believes that CEF eSignature will be very valuable for the team going forward. “Initially we had our own software for creating and validating electronic signatures, now we are increasingly using CEF eSignature to ensure a higher level quality of eSignature. By reusing the eSignature building block we will greatly reduce development costs. The fact that we don’t have to develop a complex solution, and can simply reuse the existing software is great. We will be using the CEF eSignature DSS library from now on.”
“By reusing the eSignature building block we will greatly reduce development costs. The fact that we don’t have to develop a complex solution, and can simply reuse the existing software is great.”
Jože Rihtaršič, Technical Lead at the Supreme Court in Slovenia
What are the results?
The Slovenian Supreme Court project is a national and European success story. The team has succeeded in speeding up the judicial process, saved staff from mundane tasks, saved paper by digitising the process and generated savings of over €4.5M per year. By taking advatange of CEF’s conformance testing platform, Jože and his team were able to speed up the delivery of platform and are sure that their implementation is technically accurate. Last by not least, by using a European standard, the team has ensured that the Slovenian Supreme Court is in position to exchange messages with other European judicial systems in the future and and as a result, is helping Europe realise the Digital Single Market.
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