Self-serving electronic kiosks in United States courthouses have provided convenient access to government services by automating procedures and being available after-hours.
These machines are comprised of a screen and keyboard and are usually located in the clerk’s office or in the hallway so that they are easily accessible to the public. Self-serving kiosks can be used for a variety of purposes. Firstly, members of the public and people involved in court cases can view information about the cases or conduct legal research. Beyond courtroom proceedings, self-serving kiosks enable people to complete a variety of services such as apply for marriage license, print and scan documents, request permits, complete payments, and fill out legal forms.
Self-serving electronic kiosks come with a number of benefits as advertised by Advanced Kiosks. Regarding efficiency, automated services allow people to complete basic tasks without having to interact with a courthouse employee which preserves valuable human resources. Additionally, self-serving kiosks reduce wait times to improve customers’ experiences. One of the greatest benefits to these electronic services is the option to choose a language. This breaks down any language barrier that may exist between individuals and courthouse staff, thus increasing accessibility.
Moreover, the automated services provided by these kiosks are available after hours so that people who work full time can easily access certain services without having to take time off work. As the blog “Kiosk Marketplace” writes, “With self-service kiosks…courthouses provide members of the community with the flexibility to perform their legal rights at a time most convenient for them, without sacrificing a paycheck.” Finally, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, these electronic service desks have the added advantage of reducing contact between individuals and can be cleaned with disinfectant wipes between each customer.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has been promoting this technology using their “Tiny Chats” platform which are described as “bite-sized annotated videos that touch on specific access to justice topics and court operations.” To see the “Tiny Chat” video on self-help kiosks produced by NCSC, click here.
All that being said, however, these kiosks come at a cost. The type of kiosk pictured below ranges anywhere from 8,000-10,000 US Dollars, or 143,000 – 178,000 Moldovan Leu. This is a massive barrier to accessibility given the price of purchasing this technology.
Although, one notable success story can be found in Prince William County, Virginia, where the municipality has benefitted from this technology. Prior to the installation of these kiosks, residents of Prince William would have to take time off work to complete their government business during the limited working hours. Now, however, the public can easily access electronic government services on their own schedule.
Courthouse self-serving kiosks across the United States have been beneficial for modernizing and facilitating basic government services.