Speech by Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson at the EU Digital Forum 12.10.2021
Dear participants of the Digital Forum!
It is important to understand that digitalisation is something much more than it was understood to be twenty or thirty years ago. It is no longer just about setting up new ICT systems and networks, but about the transformation of the way we work, on all sectors of society and gov-ernment. This also applies to the administration of justice.
Also in Finland, we are in process of streamlining key judicial processes and services, and making them digital. Our aim is to create one single digital workflow, the so-called “pipeline”: from the police to the prose-cutor, and then to the courts and to enforcement of judgments.
We also aim at reforming the way in which we take evidence in courts. [We are currently preparing the necessary legislation for this.] This would mean that the evidence would be recorded in video format in the court of first degree. If the case would then be appealed, the courts of appeal would take use of the recordings, instead of summoning the witnesses and other parties to appear before the court again.
We also need to take use of new technologies, such as those offered by artificial intelligence. I will give you an example from Finland.
Making court decisions widely available is important for the efficiency of court decisions, and for the public’s access to them. However, at the same time, it is important to protect personal data and other identifying information in the rulings, as appropriate.
To make this process smoother, we are testing a new artificial intelli-gence tool for the anonymisation of court judgments in Finland. This tool, for instance, automatically replaces names of persons and places, with certain letters or other marks. Prior to the project, this was done manually, which was slow and took a lot of resources. In my opinion, this is a good example of how the new technologies can benefit us.
Dear audience, while digitalising the national courts, we have to be able to work cross-border as well. [Finland has been active in EU, for exam-ple in the exchange of criminal records data and in the cross-border ex-changes based on e-CODEX platform.]
To conclude, I would like to thank the Commission for organizing this important event. I am glad to have had this opportunity to share some of our practices on this matter. Thank you.