Blockchain deployed in courts to safeguard digital evidence


Sachs: ground-breaking development

The company digitising trial bundles in the courts this week filed a patent application to tie blockchain security to its digital evidence software.

This would prevent records from being altered after entering the system, in what is thought to be a world first.

CaseLines, which has contracts to replace paper with digital files in the Supreme Court, civil and public law cases, and the Crown Court digital case system, called on justice ministries and law firms worldwide to embrace the technology.

The company claimed that recording each step of the evidence bundle upload process as a chain of transactions on the blockchain would guarantee the validity of documents and give “unparalleled levels of security”.

It said: “The purpose of using blockchain to store the transactions in each journey is to ensure that the details of each stage in the journey can be verified against the document being viewed…

“This means once a piece of evidence is entered into the system, there can be no possibility of records being altered or falsified.

“It will thereby eliminate the possibility that evidential material submitted to court can be repudiated, as the validity of the document presented will be irrefutable.”

It clarified that while transactions on the blockchain’s digital ledger could be inspected, evidence itself would not be revealed, “only evidence IDs and hash codes”.

Founder and chief technology officer, Paul Sachs, who started the company in 2008, said: “This is a ground-breaking development that will revolutionise the way the justice system operates by bringing it firmly into the digital age.”

The technology would make “the provenance of evidence wholly trustworthy”.

He called on legal authorities and law firms worldwide to “participate in a global judicial evidence blockchain”, saying: “It is my vision that in the future, the interconnectivity of the global judiciary through blockchain will ensure fair justice worldwide.”

In 2015 CaseLines was chosen by the government to digitise all of the criminal courts in England and Wales.

It manages evidence for over 10,000 cases each month, with bundles of up to 200,000 pages.

The UK courts are currently undergoing a £1bn modernisation programme which includes digitisation as a means of improving efficiency.




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