New System Further Improves Judiciary’s Technology Platform and Enhances Vermonters’ Access to Justice
Montpelier, VT - The Vermont Judiciary announced reaching another milestone today in its phased launch of the industry-leading Odyssey electronic case management system. The Judiciary implemented the system in seven of Vermont’s 14 counties today—Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans and Washington counties. Odyssey enables court personnel to manage all parts of case management electronically while protecting the privacy of confidential information. It replaces a system that was introduced in the 1990s that no longer meets the needs of a modern judiciary. Today’s announcement means that these improvements are now available in all units of the state’s trial court.
“We purposefully rolled out the implementation of Odyssey incrementally,” said Vermont State Court Administrator Patricia Gabel. “This allowed us to train all who will use the system and to use experience gained from each previous rollout to inform the later ones,” she explained. She noted that the Judiciary has also phased the rollout of the electronic filing component of the system – known as e-filing.
The rollout of Odyssey to the final group of counties represents the culmination of years of planned, strategic work to replace the Judiciary’s legacy case management system and to modernize and improve case management. These efforts are creating operating efficiencies and conveniences, improving access to justice, and enhancing data sharing. The Judiciary expects these improvements to reap benefits for years to come.
“To date, hundreds of attorneys have successfully submitted thousands of filings through the system since it went live as part of the initial rollout in the spring of 2020,” Gabel reported. “The e-filing system provides benefits that are particularly important during the pandemic, since it reduces reliance on in-person business at the courthouse. Moreover, e-filing allows Vermonters to file documents outside of normal business hours and reduces travel time to and from courthouses.”
This doesn’t mean those without reliable access to technology will be left behind by these system improvements.
“There are several ways for Vermonters to submit documents, including by physically going to a courthouse to drop them off,” Gabel noted. “We also have an e-filing waiver option for people who are not able to file electronically.”
“As with all technology projects of such scope and focus, we have encountered challenges along the way,” Gabel commented. “The Judiciary has governance and oversight processes in place to quickly identify and prioritize issues that arise and to help develop strategies to address them. Throughout this work, it’s important to remember what is guiding us—the prospect of a modern court system that is accessible to all,” Gabel noted.