By Tony Collins
England’s most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice, has voiced frustration at the state of government IT systems – in particular its continued reliance on obsolete Microsoft operating systems.
At his annual press conference, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd urged the government to exempt IT investment from any new spending cuts.
“If that [investment] is not to go ahead for any reason at all, then in my view the justice system would face a severe crisis,’ he said. ‘We have not been able to use modern technology, for example… in doing a judgment, I am doing it on Word 2003 with the XP operating system which Microsoft is supporting by special arrangement.”
He described the state of courtroom IT as I “wholly antiquated”.
The special arrangement mentioned by Thomas was the £5.5m deal signed with Microsoft earlier this year to provide 12 months support and security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 after the software giant ended support for XP in April.
Under the Ministry of Justice’s IT transformation programme, courts in England and Wales are due to go paperless by the end of 2016.