As a pan-European service, PenalNet aims to be a useful tool for every EU qualified lawyer owning a digital certificate. Currently at a pilot stage, it is being implemented by the Bars and General Councils of Lawyers of five countries: France, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain, each of them gathering 300 tester lawyers up to a total of 1500 lawyers. Digital certificates identify lawyers and accredit their condition, allowing secure communications and transactions and guaranteeing confidentiality, authentification, integrity and non repudiation. PenalNet project arises from the comparative study of the main European systems dealing with the use of digital certificates by criminal lawyers as well as direct contacts and meetings to analyse this question, such as the Conference organised by the General Council of Spanish Lawyers in cooperation with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe under the title 'E-communication and the legal profession in Europe' in Madrid, in December 2005. Digital certificates for PenalNet users will be issued on a European lawyer Cryptographic smart card. Issuing digital certificates implies building a Public Key Infrastructure based on CCBE policies and procedures: PKI needs to be built consisting on hardware, software, human resources and all the policies and procedures required to create, manage, store, distribute and revoke Public Key based digital certificates. Expectations eSaftey: With the aim of improving proficient professional relationships between EU lawyers, our departure point shall be secure eCommunications. eCooperation: PenalNet will create a communications system through a platform which will allow faster interaction, increase confidence between the professionals and amongst clients/citizens, whilst protecting their right to privacy. eJustice: The importance of the eJustice in Europe has been underlined by the EU Institutions as a tool to promote access to justice, faster and less costly. The objective is to have the same Justice, improved with new means.
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