Jul 30, 2017 News
Given the benefits of digital technology, efforts are underway by the legal administration to establish an e- judiciary, locally. This is according to Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings –Edwards.
The Chancellor was at the time addressing the opening of the new wing of the Supreme Court. Justice Cummings-Edwards said that steps have been taken to have the new courtrooms equipped with modern technology.
She explained that the e-Judiciary System allows court documents to be filed, served and extracted electronically.
“Legal professionals enjoy easy and convenient submission of court documents and online access to active case files using intuitive electronic filing (eFiling). At the same time judicial officers can enjoy improved efficiency and effectiveness in handling Court cases and schedules with features such as Court Case Management System.”
Countries such as Singapore, UAE, Namibia and Mauritius have implemented and benefitted from e-Judiciary systems. This has led to the faster disposition of cases in those jurisdictions.
According to information publicised on the Worldwide Web, the use of Internet technology in handling various administrative procedures before, during and after the administration of justice provides a host of possibilities throughout the legal process, from lobbying through to the provision of remote authoritative legal information and certificates. It is seen by many as the key to streamlining and expediting justice.
The information lists the development of e-justice as a key element in the modernization of judicial systems in different parts of modern Europe. The first objective of e-justice is to enhance the effectiveness of justice for citizens.
Information on e-Judiciary outlines that the mechanism provides a gateway in civil, commercial and criminal cases which enables practitioners to determine the appropriate judicial authorities in different parts of the Europe. The adequate e-Judicial system also gives access to citizens to find answers concerning the function of the legal systems.
Several years ago, the government signed a US$25M agreement with the IDB, to undertake institutional reforms within the local justice system.
Through the project, a Law Revision Unit was established to facilitate the ongoing revision of the laws. The project is said to be a quite complex one, with unfamiliar dialogue to institutions that had most probably never thought of reviewing their structures. Under the modernisation project, several courts have been refurbished and a number of up-to-date features were set to be installed in the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice’s Court and the Commercial Courts. This includes the voice recognition systems.
Plans have been afoot to have the recording systems installed in the High Court and Magistrates’ Courts in Berbice and Essequibo. At the Supreme Court in Georgetown, the voice recording system has been in operation since the opening of this session of the Demerara Assizes in January.
The verbatim recording system has been installed in the Chief Justice’s Court as part of a pilot project under the “Modernisation of the Justice Administration System.”
Additionally, the project’s conference system was intended for three courts; the Court of Appeal; the Chief Justice’s Court and the Commercial Court of the Supreme Court of judicature.
The new installations are said to have significantly eased the burden on judicial officers with regards to recording the end of trials. The system replaces the obsolete use of tape recorders and transcriptions in long hand.
The digital feature is currently being used primarily to record the endings of criminal and civil proceedings.
The recorder, automatically, during the proceedings, captures all sounds of the courtroom activity. The verbatim system records attorneys, litigants and other court users, and is stored securely within the courthouse.
The initiative has been on the cards for years since the local court system was earmarked for such a reformation.
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