Legal Technologies to Reduce Delays in Childcare Cases

Delays in childcare court cases have serious consequences on the lives of 500,000 children and adults affected each year. Atkinson Lewis – case management specialists, believe it is partly due to the lack of modern technologies in law firms today.
Dec. 13, 2011 - PRLog -- Figures from the Family Justice Review indicated that children wait for an average of 56 weeks for decisions to be made in care and supervision cases.  An average delay of 61 weeks was reported for care centres and 48 weeks in family proceedings courts.  Waiting for documents to be delivered and received via surface mail contributes to a considerable fraction of this duration.  

Children can be left in unstable circumstances for up to a year and to a child, this is a long time to live with the anxiety of not knowing where they're going to live or who is going to be their guardian.  Children have even been known to be waiting in abusive homes during this period.  

Reducing delays wherever possible is vital in childcare cases and should remain a priority.  It is important that children aren’t left in temporary care for an extended period of time due to the damaging psychological effect that can be inflicted during this time.

The Family Justice Review panel plans to impose a limit of 36 weeks for childcare cases.  The time spent waiting for documents to be sent and retrieved with surface mail is unnecessary, especially when there are alternatives available.  Moreover, the report Family Justice Review says that the Family Justice Service and related agencies need to replace their disparate computer systems by investing in an integrated IT system.  New technologies like electronic communications would help law firms to meet the imposed 36 week limit.

Furthermore, many criminal law firms have already successfully taken onboard new technologies in court as the Crown Prosecution Service aims to become completely digital by April 2012.  The CPS has reported that the use of tablet PC’s will save at least £50m across England and Wales by the time of the next parliament.  At a time where the CPS is facing 25 per cent cuts over the next four years, the saving is favourable to many parties.  The Law Society has also influenced the use of electronic communication within the legal system.  

However, defence lawyers have already raised objections in a recent Law Society article.  These concerns can be rectified with EDT.  The cost of purchasing the tablet PC’s which law firms are encouraged to use is compensated by the considerable reduction in overheads.  However, EDT by Atkinson Lewis is giving away a free tablet PC with every Manager account set up.

One of the points raised by defence lawyers is the lack of power points in court.  Atkinson Lewis’s Tablet PC’s have 10+ hours of battery life.  The task of charging the device, replaces the effort of preparing paper court bundles.  

The CPS has assured that it is working to resolve the issues. Whilst EDT functions on a cloud-based system, it has been specifically designed with security at the forefront of its priorities and the information can only be accessed by those who have been given permission.

Every law firm encounters difficulties in storing and justifying the costs of managing and distributing bulky court bundles.  Storing documents is not only time consuming, it takes up valuable space and staff time to maintain the filing systems and retrieve sensitive information.  

Whilst some law firms are still using traditional surface mail services, many have discovered the cost and time benefits of working with new technology.  Surface mail relies upon bulky, paper court bundles and long waiting periods, whilst electronic transfer systems can send files instantly.  With businesses in other sectors converting to electronic document transfer systems, legal firms are being left in the dark ages; although it is the legal sector that is so heavily reliant on security and efficiency.

David Atkinson who is MD for Atkinson Lewis and has worked with childcare cases for 15 years said “Our workforce is regularly resolving cases where documentation has been duplicated or distributed insufficiently and this is often due to inadequate surface mail services and hefty court bundles.  This means that cases cannot be investigated properly and further delays are the outcome.  Cases where EDT has been utilised are being processed much more efficiently which cuts the duration of a case down by a few weeks.”  

As a result, EDT by Atkinson Lewis is a cost effective, efficient and an environmentally friendly alternative to surface mail services.   The basements of law firms are heaving with court bundles and documents.  Keeping track of this mass of information dominates valuable staff time and resources.  Atkinson Lewis even has facilities in place to scan documents on behalf of clients, to make the transition that much easier.

Reducing overheads can be achieved through EDT and can contribute to savings on stationery, courier costs, printing, postage and the office staff time that is spared to pursue with other, more important tasks.  To enquire about a free trial for EDT by Atkinson Lewis, please contact us on 0330 1002 555 or email


For Media Enquiries:
For interview or further information about this topic, please contact Miss. Kathryn Powell, PR Officer for Atkinson Lewis Ltd.
Telephone:    01792 578623 ext 148
Address:    Atkinson Lewis Ltd., 1st Floor, Unit 1, Ystrad Road, Swansea, SA5 4HJ

Notes to the Editor:

EDT offers three levels of access:
•   Basic Users can view and download any documents assigned to them for free.  
•   Advanced Users can also upload documents and assign them to existing users for just £30 per month.  
•   Managers can appoint new users, create groups, start new projects, monitor users and perform other tasks, including retrieval from the archives for £120 per month.
EDT is a brand new Electronic Document Transfer system by Atkinson Lewis.  With EDT, every file from your client’s case is scanned, encrypted and uploaded to a secure server - then you (only you) control distribution. Confidentiality assured.  Whether you’re sharing legal documents, lab results, Expert Witness reports or entire Court Bundles, it’s a smart, efficient solution that will transform the way you work.

Every Solicitor and Case Manager seems to have the same problem. There’s just not enough space for all those lever arch files that document previous cases. Whether you archive on site or use a document storage facility, there’s a cost to keeping your records intact for the statutory 6-year period.

If you’re over-run with case notes, or running up hefty storage bills, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an alternative.  Our new EDT system is a highly encrypted platform for archiving and sharing confidential documents online. Once a document is uploaded, you can share it with people you nominate – safe in the knowledge that no-one else can gain access without your permission.

With its EV SSL certificate and strict document transfer protocols, EDT is the safest way we know to archive and share sensitive information.  It will help you in all kinds of ways:
•   Security – Keep tighter controls, with no risk that documents will fall into the wrong hands.
•   Efficiency – Access current case notes instantly and choose a service level for retrieving archived’s easier than travelling back and fore to your surface mail collection point.
•   Cost control – Electronic storage will cost you a fraction of your physical storage costs.
•   Space sharing – A chance to make better use of valuable storage space.
•   Eco-friendly – A more responsible way of working –Important for future contracts with your Local Authority.

# # #

We're a full support service for Solicitors, Barristers and Social Workers involved in childcare cases that feature drug or alcohol abuse.
Source:Atkinson Lewis Ltd.
Email:*** Email Verified
Phone:01792 578623 x.148
Zip:SA5 4HJ
Tags:Court Delays, Childcare Cases, Family Law, Family Justice, Electronic Document, Case Management
Industry:Legal, Technology, Family
Location:Swansea - Wales - Wales
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse

Like PRLog?
Click to Share