Paperless courtrooms are moving a step closer as the Crown Prosecution Service prepares to issue lawyers with laptops and tablet computers for trials.
The end of traditional legal bundles is a consequence of the CPS's need to cut its budget by 25% and its desire to improve efficiency by cutting unnecessary transport costs.
"At the moment we use vans, lorries and people to move these mountains of [legal] paper around the country on a daily basis," said Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions. "It's time the electronic case file became a common basis.
"I would like to see prosecutors arriving in court carrying a laptop and that lawyer prosecuting from a laptop with no papers being passed to the defence, both having been served [the documents electronically]. The results of the case and notification [should be] sent back to the victims online."
The service has held its first test paperless hearing in Winchester ? "the sky did not fall in," said Starmer ? and aims to roll out the scheme nationally from next April.
Starmer said tablets were being used in some Liverpool courts and a prosecutor in north Wales regularly used a laptop in magistrates courts.
He pointed out that the reliance on paperwork meant a lorry from the CPS's office in north Wales going to crown courts outside the area every day often had to turn back to fetch last-minute changes to the documentation.
Starmer met the home secretary, the justice secretary, the solicitor general and five chief constables last autumn to review how greater efficiency could contribute to the government's spending review.
Several areas remain problematic for digital justice: lawyers face difficulties taking electronic information into prison and claimants cannot apply for legal aid online.
The Rolls Building, a new civil court complex in central London, was specifically designed for a new era of electronic evidence, with screens available to project presentations.
Other parts of the criminal justice system are also moving towards using computers for presenting cases. Norwich crown court is to test the process; lawyers there have been given Hewlett Packard tablets.
A spokeswoman for Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service said: "Norwich crown court is participating in a mock trial to test possible ways of working digitally in the crown courts nationwide. The results of this work will help inform the planning for delivery nationally.
"By April 2012, the aim is to have all criminal justice system agencies transferring information digitally. This is part of work across the criminal justice system to provide a simpler, swifter and more transparent service that meets the needs of victims and the public."
The use of computers and exchange of electronic files is bound to raise fears in some quarters about the security of documents. And if barristers put their laptop in a bag, will it be known as a brief case?