The Minnesota State Court System has adopted XML technologies as a standard means to receive and disseminate court data electronically. Minnesota State Courts CourtXML serves to describe and catalog this data within an XML schema. CourtXML describes the business domain of information maintained by the courts in a manner that is consistent with the laws, procedures and practices in Minnesota’s trial and appellate courts and how that data is retained in the courts electronic systems. While recognizing and drawing from other efforts to define justice and legal information, e.g., Global Justice XML, LegalXML, the focus of CourtXML is to provide the most concise and accurate presentation of court data which reflects the processing of cases through our courts.
CourtXML is a court centric view of justice information. We recognize that alternate views of this same data exist that may be more suitable to the consumer of our data. Providing court data in XML format with a published CourtXML schema permits consumers to readily transform court data into formats and structures most appropriate to their business practices and technologies.
Several controlling values govern the design and evolution of CourtXML. They include:
- Fidelity to Minnesota laws, procedures and practices as prescribed by the Minnesota Supreme Court through its inherent powers to regulate the practice of law;
- Recognition that the source of information is in the best position to cast or present this information into a format most meaningful to and consistent with court functions;
- Minimize the variants of common information sets, e.g., names, addresses, statutory cites, to provide for efficient processing and presentation of the information;
- Standardize data structures across substantive areas, again for efficiency;
- Suitable organization and granularity of data to maximize their reuse allowing for common processing modules;
- Recognize and adopt external standards and formats for presenting information where consistent with the first value above, e.g., dissemination of warrant information may best be provided in Global JusticeXML structures due to its relevance to justice agencies beyond Minnesota; incoming citation information may best be presented in a format consistent with the promulgating authority (Commissioner of Public Safety).
In turn, we anticipate that all parties will derive the following benefits from applying the above principles:
- Clear and accurate communication of information due to less need to transform data from uncommon or inappropriate structures;
- Reasonable, if not best fit to Minnesota court practices and policies used in processing and disseminating information;
- Stability of data structures consistent with the stability of court business practices;
- Facilitate the building of both incoming and outgoing court documents by aggregating common data structures;
- Minimize the amount of coding needed to handle and process common information through the use of common modules acting upon standard data structures;
- Minimize maintenance of our systems. The proposition is simple - less code, less maintenance.