Japanese judge visits NCSC headquarters to learn about technology in the state courts

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japanese judge

Japanese judge visits NCSC headquarters to learn about technology in the state courts

A long-standing program between NCSC and the Japan Supreme Court has brought a Japanese district court judge to Williamsburg, Va., to learn about how technology is used in our courts and how it might be used in Japan’s courts.

Keiichi Konishi (pictured left), who has been a judge for 15 years, hears civil cases in Naha, a city of more than 300,000 on an island between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland.

As Judge Konishi conducts his research, he’ll need to always keep in mind that the courts in Japan, a civil law nation, and the United States, a common law nation, operate very differently, said NCSC’s Jim McMillan, a highly respected court technologist who is mentoring the judge. Common law gives judges an active role in developing rules, while civil law is based on fixed codes and statutes. In civil law countries, judges are often viewed more as investigators, who bring charges, examine witnesses and apply remedies found in legal codes.

The good news is that court technology generally applies across legal and organizational differences, and much of what Judge Konishi learns here can be adapted to courts in Japan, said McMillan, who has worked in all 50 states and in more than 20 countries.

“I’ve been very interested in technology for about two years,” Judge Konishi said. “The Japan Supreme Court recently decided to introduce IT into civil proceedings, so I’m interested in helping make that happen.”

The program that brought the judge here started in 2005, but until this year, it has included judges who are relatively new in their positions. Judge Konishi’s time in the United States included two weeks in February at NCSC headquarters in Williamsburg, Va., and it will include two weeks in March in Orlando, Fla., at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, which has similarities to the one where Judge Konishi works.

Tune into Facebook Live tomorrow, March 5, at 2 pm EST for coronavirus discussion

NCSC will host a Facebook live event on Thursday, March 5 at 2 pm Eastern to discuss the impact the coronavirus is having on courts and what courts can do in response. The event, which is sponsored by the State Justice Institute, will feature Nora Sydow,
a Principal Court Management Consultant and staff to the CCJ/COSCA 2016 Pandemic and Emergency Response Task Force and project director for the 2019 CCJ/COSCA National Pandemic Summit.