At a Glance
- Easily conducted legal proceedings, consultations
- Increased collaboration
- Savid more than $50 Million annually
- Significant reduction in legal investigation time
- Improved system safety and communication security
Russian Supreme Court Reviews 800 Criminal Cases a Day and Saves 1.5 Billion in Annual Ruble Costs With Video
The Russian Supreme Court uses video communications to efficiently review 800 criminal cases a day while saving over US$50 million in annual costs
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is the highest judicial body for civil, criminal, administrative and other cases for courts of general jurisdiction. Established in 1922 in accordance with the resolution of VTsIK RSFSR, today its structure includes a Plenum, Presidium, and five boards – Board of Appeals, Military Board and three judicial boards. The structural subdivision of the court – Legal Information Office, includes the group of experts in telecommunications in charge of the video conferencing solutions. The group is responsible for the selection and implementation of video collaboration in courts of general jurisdiction, investigative isolation wards, prisons and correctional facilities throughout the country.
Due to the importance and scale of the requirements, a video conferencing control centre was established in 2002. The video conferencing network in courts of general jurisdiction is the largest in Russia and one of the most widely used in the world in terms of sessions numbers with more than 800 sessions daily.
Video Collaboration in Judiciary
Overcrowded justice systems create dangerous and logistical problems. Polycom’s Collaborative Justice approach enables courts and correctional institutions to streamline civil and criminal justice systems. With Telejustice solutions which leverage high definition video conferencing technology, witnesses, experts, magistrates, offenders and security personnel no longer require to be present in court, thus reducing costs, time and security risks associated with transport. For these reasons, the use of video conferencing is common in judiciaries around the world. The Russian Supreme Court took it further on November 18th 1999, by holding the first full court session in the world. Chelyabinsky Regional Court heard the accuser’s causational appeal via video conference. Following this successful event, all courts, investigative isolation wards, prisons and correction facilities of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (divisions responsible for prisoners’ participation in court sessions) were equipped with the technology. In Russia, from 1999 to 2011 more than 1000 video conferencing endpoints were implemented in courts of general jurisdiction and investigative isolation ward and more than 550,000 criminal cases were examined.
Challenges of a Large Scale Venture
Hundreds of sites were equipped within five years, Andrey German, PhD in Technical Science and Chief Consultant of legal Informatisation at the Federal courts explains why they needed to stop and evaluate the situation: “The equipment provided by various vendors had some incompatibility, some was clearly better quality than others, and we now needed to focus on network security”. The Legal Informatisation Office headed by Sergey Kryukov started to research the market and evaluated the solutions, looking for the best to provide a platform which would ensure reliability, quality and security of their large network of video conferencing.
Selection and Implementation
After extensive research, and series of tests comparing the proposals from such vendors as Tandberg, Sony, VCON and Aethra which included an analysis of numerous technical factors and pricing, the working group selected the Polycom® RealPresence® platform. “Polycom solutions showed the best combination of quality, reliability, efficiency and price. After massive testing of various solutions in all types of scenarios, Polycom was the most consistent and delivered the best quality of image and sound. We took the decision to implement throughout the country”, says Andrey German. The project took nearly one and half years and was accomplished on time and on budget. German is pleased to note: “The project was ambitious; we were extremely proud and satisfied of its delivery and completion. The most important achievement of the Polycom platform implementation is the significant cost and time saving. Both are equally important, as they relate directly to people’s lives”.
Throughout the country from Sakhalin Island to Kaliningrad, in courts and investigative isolation wards there are more than 1350 video conferencing systems installed; of which 1100 are Polycom. All are connected to the Polycom® RealPresence® Collaboration server. The time of legal investigations has been significantly reduced from several months to one month. Once the trial goes to a judge, he makes a decision about the appointment for the hearing – always using a video conferencing session.
The Polycom® RealPresence® Platform became one of the technological solutions with the biggest return on investment for the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. Using Polycom video collaboration, the Courts of general jurisdiction have examined more than 600,000 criminal cases, an average of 800 cases per day. By conducting examinations virtually over video and eliminating the need for people to travel and be physically present, the Supreme Court saves RUB 1.5 billion (U.S. $50.5 million) of state funds annually on prison transfers of the accused to court and back.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has completely converted all cassational and supervisory criminal cases to being done via video (excluding all trials classified as state secrets). In 2011, the national service provider set up telecommunication services in all courts of general jurisdiction, more than 2,800 facilities. The video technologies in courts are used in for many purpose throughout all departments: consultations between judges and court administration, employee seminars, meetings with the President and Government of the Russian Federation, ministries and authorities, regional governors, communications between lawyers and relatives with accuseds and victims under the Witness Protection Program (with voice and eyes distortion). Additionally the solutions are used for remote employee education.
The project of the Supreme courts continues to evolve and grow. In 2013-2017 the judiciary system plans to install more than 3,000 video conferencing points in district courts all over the country. Currently the communication channel layout is in the final stages, and meets all necessary requirements for holding several thousand video conferences per day. In the long term the plans have been outlines for some 9,000 video collaboration solutions for the magistrates.