Digitization of the Administration of Justice

Digitization is on the verge of reaching the doors of Andorran Justice, a decisive and necessary move that will result in an agile, efficient, and accessible public service. It will reduce response times and ensure a more efficient management of the public justice service, which constitutes a constitutional right for all citizens.

On March 31, 2022, Law 7/2022, of March 31, on electronic access to the Administration of Justice (hereinafter Law 7/2022), was approved. This law was specifically created to take a step forward in terms of digitizing judicial files and thus, to start a digital transformation of the Andorran judicial system.

This Law adds to others already approved in the Principality to regulate the application of new technologies in different areas, such as Law 35/2014, of November 27, on electronic trust services, and Law 9/2021, of April 29, amending Law 35/2014, of November 27, on electronic trust services.

Likewise, in order to comply with Law 7/2022, during the year 2023, various collaboration agreements have been signed by the High Council of Justice, among others, with the Ministry of Justice and Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Andorran Social Security Fund, the banking entities of the Principality, the Association of Andorran Banks, and the Andorran Financial Authority. Information sessions on this subject have also been held with lawyers, solicitors, police, penitentiary staff, and the Civil Registry.

Law 7/2022 establishes a new system of communication and procedural management through new computer systems that allow the communication, notification, consultation, and archiving of all procedural documents forming the electronic file to which all parties and courts can access, always guaranteeing the principles of public use and interest, confidentiality, integrity, interoperability, and data security.

In accordance with its final fifth provision, this Law would not come into force until two years after its publication. However, recently, the High Council of Justice has reported that the digitization of the Administration of Justice will not arrive on the scheduled dates and requests to delay the project until next year, specifically until February 2025. The Council has indicated that it will not be possible to meet the contemplated dates since more time is needed to implement what the norm dictates, considering that digitization requires adapting all existing software and computer systems.

Moreover, all the necessary training for the involved personnel has not yet been managed, so it has been deemed appropriate to request the execution of a change in Law 7/2022 in order to delay the initially agreed deadline for addressing digitization, and also to make some technical modifications.

Considering what the High Council of Justice proposes, to be able to develop this initiative, a Working Committee will elaborate technical standards and establish a structure and a technical format to ensure the success of the digitization of judicial files. Furthermore, it is intended to start with pilot tests and initially maintain the coexistence between the paper world and the digital world so that the transition is more comfortable.

In conclusion, although the digitization process of the Andorran Administration of Justice may take longer than initially anticipated, it is a sufficiently important and necessary project to be tackled under the best possible conditions to ensure a system that functions correctly and is reliable and that, ultimately, meets the generated expectations.