While the two systems each have access to the same source data, they are architected to use that information completely differently to service different functions.
Still wondering what an “eBench” is? The concept of the eBench (aka Judicial Viewer, or Judicial Tool) is fairly new to the courts’ technical framework. To help clarify, here are definitions from two entities that are invested in the progress of eBench technology:
- Florida Courts Technology Commission*: eBench is “A computer application designed for in-court and in-chambers use by trial judges or their staff to access and use electronic case files and other data sources in the course of managing cases, scheduling and conducting hearings, adjudicating disputed issues, and recording and reporting judicial activity. “
- Joint Technology Committee (JTC)** : “Judicial tools include functionalities and resources essential to accessing current and historic case information, and the means to manage and prioritize the work of a judge in chambers and on the bench.”
The keywords are “designed for trial judges or their staff”
…because while it is possible for users to access case information through the case management (or maintenance) system, it often is not efficient for searching. Court users don’t always have access to screens or functions that they need in the CMS, and data often isn’t displayed in a “readable” style. This is because the CMS is designed with the clerk in mind.
So what are the differences between the CMS and the eBench?
While they both provide access to court case information, the Case Management System is built for:
- Clerks: it’s focused on the overall maintenance of the entire court caseload
- Fast data entry and storage; the official record is entered and maintained.
- Individual: designed for use by the ‘siloed’ worker, with narrow project scope
- Generally, users are only able to focus on one case at a time
The eBench is built for:
- Judges: Focused on both individual users and the cases on their calendar
- Fast document and information retrieval
- Collaborative work
- The ability to examine multiple cases and documents at the same time
How does it all fit together?
The CMS and DMS each play an important role and already exist in clerk’s network. The eBench is another invaluable component that integrates with those source systems to pull the information and documents and serves them up to the judiciary with their own electronic copy of the case file displayed in a way that works for judges and their staff. Plus, the eBench enables the judiciary to extend the case file to the notes and work product they generate.
* Florida Courts Technology Commission [http://www.flcourts.org]: Through the early adoption and integration of state-of-the-art technologies, Florida’s court system is recognized as one of the leaders in the country.
**http://www.ncsc.org/about-us/committees/joint-technology-committee.aspxJoint Technology Committee [http://www.ncsc.org/about-us/committees/joint-technology-committee.aspx] Resource Bulletin Making the Case For Judicial Tools