A new online startup called Litigator is planning to streamline the litigation process in South Africa through its new online platform.
Litigator has four shareholders – Bruce Henderson, Stuart Harris, and two silent partners who would like to remain anonymous.
Henderson explained that they started Litigator because, after being out of the profession for a few years, he was amazed that attorneys were still using extremely manual processes in exchanging litigation documents.
“Even though the court rules have been amended to permit service by email, the process of serving by email has not been widely adopted, in consequence of the fact that the verification of delivery is problematic,” said Henderson.
The traditional way of serving documents would entail the attorney printing out 4 copies of each document – one for his file, a second for the opposing attorney, a third for Court file, and a final copy for the attorney’s file (bearing two stamps).
Each document must be served on the opposing attorney and thereafter filed at Court – by way of the firm’s delivery vehicle.
“It is clear that the traditional method of delivery is costly, cumbersome and inefficient,” said Henderson. Litigator aims to automate this process and make it faster, cheaper, and more reliable.
“In its current form Litigator already provides a more manageable, more efficient, cheaper, and faster method of serving court documents than the traditional method,” said Henderson.
“We are confident that we will shortly have the Advanced Electronic Signature component added which will then also enable us to offer the court filing component as well.”
The new service is aimed at attorneys and advocates. “There is also a huge benefit to businesses who conduct a large amount of litigation via a panel of attorneys,” said Henderson.
“They would be able to have real time access to the latest developments of any of their matters which may have gone to litigation.”
He added that they also see the platform being massively beneficial to arbitrators and the judicial officers in the different courts.
“The Litigator platform has the ability to be implemented in the courts, which would go a long way in solving the current file management issues that they are experiencing,” said Henderson.
“Although there are task teams within the Law Society and Attorneys Associations investigating the possibility of an electronic court filing system, there is no immediate plan for anything to be rolled out in the near future. We are, however, in discussions with some of the role players.”