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Digital leap in justice

Digital transformation is an evolution that implies a change in mentality and in the way of doing things.

The norm and reality do not always go hand in hand. Sometimes, the issuance of regulations generates changes in the compartment, and on other occasions the needs lead to the formulation of legal solutions. It is not in vain that lawyers speak of the normative power of the factual and the factual power of the normative, of which an eloquent example is the process of digitalization of justice in Colombia. With the arrival of covid-19, on March 25, 2020, mandatory preventive confinement began in the country, requiring the authorities to identify forceful solutions to provide citizens with access to justice. It was imperative to provide innovative tools and digital solutions that would improve people's quality of life with the implementation of technology. On June 4 of that year, Decree 806 was issued in Colombia, which generated an unprecedented boost in the implementation of technologies in the administration of justice. In Colombia, the appropriation of technology as an urgent need for justice presented its first developments in 1996, when, with Law 270, the conversation began at the normative level, integrating terms related to the tendency to incorporate advanced technologies. . In 1999, with the electronic commerce law, the concept of functional equivalence was incorporated with the equality between the written document and the data message. For 2011, Law 1437 incorporated the possibility that judicial actions could be carried out through information technologies, as long as their authenticity, integrity, conservation and subsequent consultation were guaranteed. Decree 806 of 2022 notoriously reinforced the possibility of carrying out digital actions, under the premise of offering non-face-to-face care, streamlining procedures and strengthening the use of these mechanisms with a view to having a more efficient and effective justice, preserving the possibility of access to justice for those who do not have the means to access it through ICTs. Faced with the termination of the validity of 806, judicial operators saw the need to maintain their benefits, with which Law 2213 of 2022 was issued, which incorporated information technologies permanently. This rule provided a regulatory framework for citizen access to the administration of justice effectively, under equal conditions, reinforcing the principles of speed, transparency and simplification of processes to develop them at a lower cost.

By facilitating judicial management for the user and the justice operator, the scenario raised by this law becomes more relevant considering the results of the digital appropriation study of the Centro Nacional de Consultoría, which showed that in the first ten months of the pandemic, Colombians advanced in digital skills in the equivalent of what had been projected for a period of 20 years. This combination of regulations and reality reminds us that digital transformation is an evolution that implies a change in mentality and in the way of doing things, and requires the participation of all the actors in the process.

Added to this legislative situation is the credit of up to 500 million dollars granted by the Inter-American Development Bank for the digital transformation of Justice. To date, the IDB has disbursed resources for 100 million dollars, which must be managed as a fundamental boost to the laws issued. By the hand of the law and with the proper use of available resources, it is necessary to assume a new digital culture, have the skills required for the implementation of systems and manage information in a unified and understandable manner. The recent digital acceleration now requires the necessary infrastructure to achieve connectivity in all regions of the country, invites technological appropriation by citizens and the administrator of justice, and requires trained human talent.

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By: Claudia Amore

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