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No state can handle the challenges of digitalisation alone, Judit Varga, the justice minister, said at a conference on Tuesday. Citizens, she noted, have an ever greater need to access documents online, and the Covid pandemic has heightened this need, Varga said in her speech to the ministerial conference on digital technology and artificial intelligence entitled New Challenges of Justice in Europe, organised by the Ministry of Justice and the Council of Europe (CoE) under the Hungarian presidency of the Committee of Ministers, in Gödöllő, near Budapest. In her English-language speech posted on Facebook, the minister said any initiative that increased the efficacy of judicial cooperation between CoE member states should be welcomed.
With mobile phones, people can access the legal system at the touch of a button, Varga noted, adding that no one should be digitally excluded. Also, the associated risks should not outweigh their benefits, she added. Even before the pandemic, IT played a big role in Hungary’s legal system, she said. Hungary’s courts already provide electronic access to proceedings, while judges and registered clients can access important information and documents online, saving time and money, Varga added. With remote testimony, people can testify in a separate room, even from abroad, she noted.
Marija Pejčinović Burić, the CoE’s secretary general, said the CoE had been helping member states apply IT effectively in their judicial systems and introduce electronic procedures since 2000. She noted that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the introduction of electronic services, leading to the development of more efficient and transparent judicial systems.