Concerns over a cloud-based court filing system unfounded‚ expert says

20 June 2016 - 14:04 By TMG Digital

A cloud-based court filing system could replace the “costly‚ cumbersome” current practice‚ but concerns remain. That’s according to Litigator managing director Bruce Henderson‚ who said “court rules have been amended to permit electronic service of litigation documents and that attorneys must embrace digital systems”.Henderson also noted that‚ “in 2014‚ Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called for the introduction of an electronic court filing system‚ to increase efficiencies‚ reduce costs and mitigate against the lost and stolen court documents”.An obstacle to this‚ he said‚ was “concerns as to the manner in which the service of documents is verified”.But “cloud-based systems...can confirm the serving of a document to all relevant parties and allow these parties to access these documents instantly anytime/anywhere”‚ said Henderson.Also of concern “is that by storing the original documents in the cloud‚ one is increasing the chances of those documents being accessed‚ altered or manipulated by parties acting in bad faith”.But Henderson countered this by saying “services and products available that protect the integrity of the documents and arguably make them more difficult to alter or destroy than physical documents”.He also noted that under the Electronic Communication and Transaction Act‚ the applicant for an advanced electronic signature is subject to a registration and validation process that includes a background check with Home Affairs‚ finger print verification and a face-to-face assessment meeting”.“When a document has been signed with an advanced electronic signature‚ its authenticity is deemed verified‚” added Henderson.“The signature also serves as a security mechanism whereby the signatory’s details are available by simply clicking on the signature. Information as to the identity of the signatory‚ time date and validity are then disclosed. Should the document have been altered in any way‚ the signature will be marked as invalid.”He also noted that as “magistrates court rules specifically define ‘signature’ as including advanced electronic signatures‚ so there should be no barrier to these courts accepting documents that have been signed in such a way”. – TMG Digital

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