18 December 2018

DPA: Towards an efficient computerised justice system

The legal profession is at a turning point. The justice system has long lagged behind in terms of innovation and the digitisation of procedures.

For too long, the Bars have also been excluded from the vast digitalisation movement at work in our society. As a result, they have fallen behind in terms of technology and competitiveness compared with other sectors. Manual paper-based administration was becoming increasingly difficult to justify to clients.

The beginnings of digitalisation

Following on from a protocol with the Ministry of Justice, the Community Associations (Orde van Vlaamse Balies and thought in 2016 that it was time to move forward. They committed to developing a digital platform allowing full electronic management of procedures.

The DPA (Digital Platform for Attorneys) was born. This is therefore a joint project of the O.V.B. and the French- and German-speaking Bar Associations.

The DPA is playing a key role in the computerisation of the legal profession. It has set itself the objective of improving the efficiency of the daily practice of the legal profession. It therefore wants to support lawyers – and by extension the justice system – towards a digital future. It is an essential tool for the lawyers of tomorrow who want to adapt their internal procedures and working methods to today's digital world.

The DPA makes life easier for lawyers

The DPA is a centralised platform through which all communications between lawyers and other actors in the justice system pass. It provides lawyers with secure access to a range of online services. The platform is currently used by hundreds of lawyers to file submissions and exhibits. It is therefore no longer necessary to physically go to clerk's offices.

In addition, it is possible to consult paid services such as the national register, the central file of seizure notices and Graydon.

How the DPA shapes computerisation

Since June 2017, lawyers have therefore been able to file their submissions, send exhibits and communicate with all courts, colleagues and third parties in Belgium electronically. The system has many advantages:

  • Security: access is only possible using the electronic lawyer's card. Authentication takes place on the basis of the register of lawyers.
  • Confidentiality: communication between lawyers, courts and clients is strictly confidential.
  • Simplicity:
  • sending documents to courts, colleagues and clients in Belgium;
  • simultaneous loading of documents with different recipients;
  • automatic sending of electronic documents to connected courts.
  • Full integration with software for lawyers: it must be possible to send documents from the software used by the lawyer. Several software companies are currently working on this integration.
  • Digital folder: all documents filed are kept for two years (or more, on request) in a central database called the DPA-box.
Ready for the digital future?

The DPA frees lawyers from technical constraints. It allows them to focus on their core business and strengthen their competitive position on the legal market. The functionalities of the digital platform will continue to be expanded in the coming years. The DPA will become even more ergonomic in order to generate additional time savings.

Want to find out more?

ING is keen to encourage and assist lawyers with their digital challenges.