Building E-Justice in Continental Europe: The TéléRecours Experience in France
22 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 31, 2013
The growing number of studies on ICT innovation experiences in the justice sector report a few easy successes and, far more frequently, difficult (and long) struggles to overcome multiple and often unexpected problems. Empirical analysis shows that these problems are the result of the complex interplay between technological, institutional, organizational and normative components of e-justice. What has been discovered is that the techno-institutional systems that are developed in the making of e-justice need not to be just technically functional, but also institutionally, organizationally and normatively compatible with the justice system. As the implementation of such systems breaks established practices and shared visions of what should be done, how and by whom, innovation requires the re-establishment of such agreements in the new situation. Cognitive, social and institutional features of the domain in which the innovation takes place thus play a paramount role in the innovation effort. This paper shows the interesting case of the development of an e-filing system, TéléRecours, in the French administrative justice sector. The system has been developed following a functional simplification strategy to cope with the technological, organizational and normative complexity of the endeavour. Such a strategy had been successfully adopted by several Northern European countries, but generally it had not been followed in Continental Europe, where much less successful attempts to create functional equivalents of paper-based procedures had been made. As the paper will attempt to explain, the functional simplification approach allowed the French justice administration to develop a functioning technology which is appreciated by the limited number of those who use it but that, due to its incapability of attaining institutional compatibility, is failing to exit the experimental phase.
Keywords: e-justice, e-governance, information system design, ICT implementation, French administrative justice, TéléRecours
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