KOREA: Legal documents will go online

Documents from criminal cases will be available to the public on the internet in 2007

The Korea Times
Monday, March 14, 2005

By Bae Keun-min

People will no longer have to visit police stations, prosecutors' offices, courthouses and penitentiaries to get legal documents on criminal cases as an online database will be set up in 2007.

A government reform committee on Monday announced a plan for an online network for criminal case processing from petition filing, crime investigation and trials to sentence execution, making the information available at the simple click of a mouse.

According to the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralization, the online system will also take care of all civil affair administration works, including fine payment, issuance of legal documents and petition filings.

Law enforcement and judicial authorities will also use the network to carry out procedures such as evidence collection, application and issuance of arrest warrants, prosecution and delivery of sentences, the committee said.

The committee began preparing for the system last August and launched a joint task force last month to map out a master plan in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, police, prosecution and courts.

The task force will finish the master plan by July, which will aim at preparing a foundation for the joint system of the four national bodies by November 2006.

In addition, the system will be expanded through embracing other special investigation bodies such as the National Tax Service and the Korea Customs Service by November 2007.

The electric network will mean a complete change in penal procedures, removing the need for people to visit the police station, prosecutors' office and courts to obtain documents and check on the development of a case. People can simply log onto a Web site to deal with their matters, a commission official said.

Removing papers for the investigation and sentence, the system will introduce ``e-prosecution'' and ``e-court''. The new system will expand the audio video recording of investigations, the committee said.

The system is also expected to reduce costs and cut down on information processing.

The task force will form a consultation commission, where scholars and officials from non-governmental organizations will participate.

It will also amend related laws to establish the legal foundation to upload such documents over the server.