From now on, courts and lawyers will mail rulings or other confidential legal documents to each other. By the way, this is done through a special secure mail service, such as “Zivver”, for example, which also provides confirmation of receipt, just as with that old reliable fax.
Fax was introduced to the judiciary about forty years ago. But while the rest of society has been tossing this device in the trash for fifteen years, lawyers and judges happily faxed until Monday.
Fax traffic between lawyers and the courts has decreased slightly in recent years. In 2021, about 30,000 court faxes and about 3,500 judgments were received each month. Incidentally, this was already much lower than it was before the Corona pandemic, as lawyers working from home seem to prefer email rather than fax.
KPN has discontinued
According to a spokesperson for the Judicial Council, it took a long time before fax was gone because there was no legislation equaling sending email with fax (reliability). The fact that it is now already coming to an end is mainly because KPN will discontinue ISDN services required for faxes this year.
According to Dean Robert Cranes Le Roy, when fax was introduced into the legal profession in the 1980s, there was a fear that the speed of the “new” medium would not benefit the two-way communication between lawyers. Because of all the procedures involved in sending an old letter, there was still a possibility that the first anger had already subsided before the letter was published, while the other attorney had already read the fax.
Incidentally, the dean does not have to wait for a faxed response from Chief Justice Henk Navis. The head of the Judicial Council answers via Twitter. The court fax machine will then be placed somewhere in a display box next to the typewriter, Bakelite dial telephone, and punched card machine.
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