Some say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Yet I’m amazed how readily so-called staid judges have embraced the hi-tech CaseLines trial preparation and presentation platform. But what, I wondered, would a generation who live and breathe technology make of it?
In September, I went to Kent University to introduce CaseLines to students taking the inaugural Mock Trial Advocacy module. Darren Weir Director of Mooting & Mock Trials had previously approached us to use the same system used in the Crown Court, so his students could have a ‘real court’ experience.
There wasn’t a seat free in the Moot Court, and a sea of young faces was looking intently at me. As I started to present CaseLines on the large screen backdrop I felt very proud of our solution.
But what would they make of it?
I began with some background on CaseLines; how widely used it is in the UK and around the world, with users in Canada, Kenya and South Africa. I also dared mention that if they ever ran into trouble as a legal professional their case would be loaded onto CaseLines. (Both the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the Bar Council are clients of ours.) Nothing like a real world example to encourage them to make sure they know how to use the system!
We talked about the recent scenes at the Supreme Court that saw differing paper bundles, varied pagination and missing pages – something that CaseLines would have avoided. Then we looked at the page direction and presenter mode functionality that allows users to seamlessly guide others to a particular section, document or page. As all of us were looking at the ‘case’ on our own devices, it really brought this clever functionality to life.
A great CaseLines feature is the ability to annotate bundles online, adding private comments that no-one else can see – apart from the other 59 students logged into the same account for this demo! We also experimented with adding a comment to a different document so that students could see their own added comments, change the colour and amend the text. I don’t think we had any rude comments, but it certainly made for an interactive session.
It took an hour to give a whirlwind tour of CaseLines and get hands-on with the technology. The students’ response was just as enthusiastic as much older real world judges. It left me in no doubt that we’ll see these young legal minds appear as tech-savvy advocates in courts around the world before we know it.
Sarah Sweeting, Head of Client Services