BMC to debut MassCourts information system this fall

Issue September 2003

The first installation of MassCourts, the Trial Court's comprehensive, statewide information technology system, will begin in the Boston Municipal Court department of the Trial Court this fall.

Following implementation in the Boston Municipal Court, the Land Court will next receive MassCourts in January 2004 followed by all Plymouth County courts in spring and then in all Trial Court departments throughout the commonwealth.

MassCourts will fully integrate case information from all trial courts throughout the commonwealth by replacing 15 existing legacy systems. The Trial Court expects to complete the project, which was funded through a $75 million bond bill authorized by the Legislature in 1995, in 2006.

The Boston Municipal Court was selected as the first Trial Court department to implement MassCourts because of its size and suitability for the training program that will accompany installation of the technology. Eventually 4,000 judges and administrative, clerical and probation staff throughout the Trial Court will be given at least three days of training on how to use the system.

"The staff of the Boston Municipal Court are very adept at using the interim information technology systems," said Superior Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, the information technology project executive leading the project's team. "MassCourts is a faster, more robust and more functional system than our current legacy systems. It will not only enhance the processing of all cases in the Trial Court, but it will also be capable of accommodating growing demands."

The Internet-based system will provide the public, attorneys and members of the court community greater access to case information in accordance with the Supreme Judicial Court's policy governing court records on the Internet. Court administrators also will have a powerful management tool for tracking individual cases as they progress through the system and for compiling and analyzing statewide court data.

"MassCourts is designed to benefit Massachusetts residents by making the delivery of justice more efficient, timely, accountable and accessible to all," said SJC Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said. "When the project is finished, the Massachusetts Trial Court will be a national leader in court information technology."

In January, the Administrative Office of the Trial Court selected Maximus Justice Solutions of Canton, Ohio, to provide the MassCourts software. Since then Trial Court judges and staff have worked closely with company representatives to finalize the system's approximately 1,800 functional requirements.