A LOOK AT COTS FROM THE USERS' PERSPECTIVE
Eight months after the introduction of the new COTS civil case management system in three pilot Justice of the Peace courts (Court 12 in New Castle County and Courts 17 and 19 in Sussex County), how is the new system viewed by its users? Gwen Cook (manager of Court 12) and Casey Tyndall (manager of Courts 17 and 19) report that court staff were initially apprehensive about having to learn a new system. However, now that they have had actual experience with it, they are very pleased with the new functions it offers.
Perhaps the feature that court personnel most appreciate is the lack of paper files. Where once paper files were created and placed in drawers, now papers are scanned into the system and files are completely computerized. While the court managers say that the time to scan the files is about the same as to create a paper file, the real advantages come from avoiding lost files and the ability to obtain information needed from a file no matter in which Justice of the Peace Court it is located.
Another favorite aspect of the new system is the financial package. It has made work both easier and more accurate by providing automatic tabulation of financial information which previously had to be processed manually in civil cases. The creation of debit accounts for large volume court users is also helping to make case processing move smoothly as filing fees can be automatically deducted from filers’ accounts – a particular help with the coming implementation of e-filing. The court managers also applaud the ability of Justice of the Peace constables to enter returns into the system, saving time for the clerks and permitting the information to be entered into the system sooner.
Both court managers agree that, while there were a few snags along the path, they were well worth it. They and their staffs are extremely happy with the new system and would never want to go back to the old way of doing business. Chief Magistrate Alan G. Davis agrees and adds that:
The remarkable way that our staff and judges at Courts 12, 17 and 19 have approached this transition is commendable. Change is never easy, but, with a positive attitude and a willingness to tackle obstacles and suggest improvements, the folks at these court locations have set the standard for the rest of the judiciary as we progress through the phrases of this project.
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