About electronic trials

In an electronic trial (eTrial), documents are submitted as scanned images in fully text-searchable PDF documents. The documents are managed and viewed online throughout the trial.

An eTrial should be considered when:

  • the number of relevant documents is likely to exceed 500
  • parties can produce relevant documents electronically
  • eTrial technology is available in the court
  • parties to the matter will benefit from time and cost savings.

Benefits of an eTrial

An eTrial streamlines and increases access to the justice system. It also helps legal firms offer greater value to their clients by providing:

  • fast access to fully text-searchable documents in court
  • remote teams with 24-hour, real-time access to relevant documents before and during a trial
  • access during hearings to email and firm systems via Queensland Courts’ Wi-Fi service
  • significant reductions in paper handling and photocopying
  • compatibility with commercial document management and case preparation systems—enabling the bulk import of documents and related data
  • an ability to scale the solution to trial requirements.

Queensland Courts welcomes all feedback from parties previously involved in an eTrial. Send feedback to etrials@courts.qld.gov.au.

When to consider an eTrial

Parties should consider the benefits of an eTrial regardless of what stage a proceeding is at.

Ideally, as soon as proceedings commence and, if possible, before disclosure, all parties should consider and aim to agree on a document management protocol.

If the parties agree to disclose electronically using an agreed document management protocol, and the matter does proceed to trial, it’s already likely to be eTrial compliant.

Managing documents

Documents are managed through eCourtbook, a secure portal for documents relevant to a court hearing. They can be shared, viewed and searched before and during a trial.

Courtview is the screen output from a PC that can be viewed via all other screens in the court.

Find out more about eCourtbook and Courtview.

Facilities and equipment

The Supreme and District Courts building at 415 George Street, Brisbane, has fourteen eTrial capable courtrooms – seven criminal and six in the civil and Court of Appeal courtrooms. This may increase as demand for eTrials increases.

Queensland Courts provides the necessary monitors for each party in the courtroom and a large monitor to display documents for the public gallery.

Parties should bring their own portable devices for independent access to the eCourtbook during the hearing. If this isn’t possible, Queensland Courts may provide one if available. Discuss this with the eTrials Registrar before the trial.

Access to the internet is via court Wi-Fi.

Getting help

The eTrials Registrar oversees the conduct of eTrials. For assistance, email the eTrials Registrar at etrials@courts.qld.gov.au. Queensland Courts staff can’t provide technical advice, or help with the eCourtbook or connecting your computer systems to the courts Wi-Fi Service.