The eTrial process
Any party can suggest to the court that a matter proceed as an eTrial, ideally before disclosure commences.
If the judge approves a matter to be conducted as an eTrial, the following steps may occur (depending on the circumstances and needs of each proceeding).
1. Attend pre-trial conference
The eTrials Registrar schedules a pre-trial conference with the parties involved in the proceeding. The presiding judge’s associate may also attend.
The meeting allows the parties to define the 'agreed bundle' and agree on a standard document numbering protocol, including document types, document identification standards, sources, authors and recipients.
See practice direction 2011/10 - Use of technology for the efficient management of documents in litigation - repeals 2004/08 . (While this practice direction applies to civil matters in the Supreme Court, the content also applies to all matters where parties may be considering an eTrial.)
2. Scan and number documents
In line with practice direction 2011/10, all disclosed documents are converted to an electronic format and numbered as multi-page, searchable PDFs as per the agreed document management protocol.
The numbering may be stamped on the first page of each document or a label may be attached. This numbering is confirmed at the pre-trial conference.
3. Complete document management spreadsheet
Parties download and complete the Document Management Spreadsheet and pre-trial checklist , including the disclosed document metadata as per the agreed protocol (document ID, date, title, author, etc.).
Some document management systems allow parties to export this metadata from their document management systems as a .csv file or spreadsheet.
Submit all forms and files to the eTrials Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Assess data integrity and finalise bundle
The eTrials Registrar assesses whether the document naming and numbering is consistent with the agreed document protocol, and confirms the agreed bundle with the parties.
The parties are then responsible for fixing any inconsistencies identified.
5. Burn documents to CD/DVD
Parties then burn their bundle to CD or DVD and deliver it to:
Attn: eTrial Registrar
QEll Court of Law Complex
415 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
6. Upload documents to portal
Queensland Courts establishes a secure eCourtbook on the eTrials portal, and uploads the documents to this site.
The courts then send a username and password to each party’s legal representative. The eTrial Registrar arranges eCourtbook training for the parties.
7. Update portal during the trial
Once the trial commences, the judge's associate is responsible for the eCourtbook data throughout the trial. Coordinate any changes or additional document uploads through the judge's associate.
8. Remove the eCourtbook
The eCourtbook established for the trial is removed after the judge hands down a decision and any relevant appeal periods expire.
If the matter is appealed, the Court of Appeal Registry usually uses the site to conduct the appeal electronically (an eAppeal). Contact the Court of Appeal Registrar for more information.