The Millenials and Digital Law – How Do We Enforce It?
As millennial lawyers and native technology users, we are being called upon to digitize the law and the sector, in general.
Despite the fact that the legal world has been impacted by technology and a large number of law professionals are now part of the millennial generation, here in Colombia we are still far behind in this regard.
In arbitrage cases and lawsuits with monitoring entities like Superintendences, we have begun to settle some of them, communicate by email, collect evidence and carry out hearings via Skype. These occurrences are still not happening in civil lawsuits and courts.
Why is this the case? There are a number of reasons. The most important reason, and in their defense, there is a lack of economic resources to have the technological infrastructure needed for these cases to be resolved in a prompt, efficient and successful manner.
The majority of civil cases are governed by the new General Process Code (CGP in Spanish). Law 1564 was enacted in 2012, but due to a variety of legal hurdles and difficult practices, it only began to take effect in 2016. The CGP introduced new rules regarding digital law that were direly needed and constitute (at least on paper) a huge step forward in this arena. (Look up: Articles 37, 39, 42, 14, 89, 103, and ss of the CGP)
The goal now is to clarify how to enforce digital law without any budget to do so or Federal regulations about its implementation.
The problem, however, isn’t just a lack of resources. In addition, we need to figure out how to educate ourselves to turn technology into an ally instead of an enemy. It is still common to see judges and attorneys unaware of these kinds of technological advances. We still believe that without a hard copy, it is easier to alter documents, but this is not the reality. Nowadays, technology experts are trained to detect any anomaly, at times with greater precision than those in traditional paper form.
To understand the scope of the matter at hand, one simply needs to observe that the majority of Colombian judges have been assigned an official email account to receive memos in civil cases, but they refuse to use it. Isn’t this a simple first step?
Sending memos via email, for example, should already be a reality. Law 527 from 1999 and the CGP (article 122) allow this to occur. If may be costly to print and store information and appendices. Therefore, the parties can agree to store the physical documents and a copy on DVD for a reasonable amount of time and add it to the file.
We don’t need the government to modify the national budget nor the rules in the CGP. We can start with small steps to change the chip and progress. As millennials and typical consumers that use laptops, tablets, smartphones, Wi-Fi, email, etc., it is our job to drive the necessary changes in this area.
The stereotype of the solemn lawyer, tailor-dressed and tied to paper, with embellished language and opposed to change, is obsolete. This image has evolved to portray the attorney as a digital citizen, prepared for the positive changes that technology offers. The future is NOW.
Christian Perez Rueda
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