Proper and legal: PDF/A in the judicial and administrative sectors

Administrative workflows are being modernized as more and more government agencies start using the e-case file – and PDF/A is playing a decisive role in all of this.

The call for a modernized workplace has finally reached the courts and government agencies. This development is not only due to the people working in such agencies, who see in the latest technologies a means of making their jobs easier and more efficient, but also to various laws designed to promote such improvements.

Germany‘s enactment of the E-Government Act promoting electronic administrative services laid the foundation for digital communications in government agencies.

“The objective of this law for the promotion of electronic government and for changing other regulations (the E-Government Act) is to make it easier to communicate electronically with government agencies and allow simpler, more efficient and user friendly electronic administrative services to be offered at the federal, state and local levels.” (The German Ministry of the Interior)

Electronic records used in government, also known as e-case files, are what form the heart of this modernization effort. This is where, according to the PDF Association, one file format in particular, and which is an outstanding tool for compliant archiving, is finding broad use: PDF/A. This was also confirmed in a simulation study conducted by DATEV (a software and IT services cooperative for tax consultants, auditors, attorneys and their midmarket clients) and the provet project. The study showed how judges now accept digital documents as evidence and favorably demonstrated the probative value of documents in PDF/A format.

The people working in government administration, the courts, and the judiciary are not the only ones who benefit from the introduction of e-case files and the triumph of PDF/A. Citizens themselves profit from now or soon being able to electronically access personal documents and administrative information.

As welcome and encouraged as electronic communications are in government offices and the judiciary, standard administrative procedures must still comply with the recommendations and provisions for proper records management – something that PDF/A makes easy to do.