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JSC pushes for digital delivery of justice

by Staff reporter
04 Dec 2020 at 16:19hrs | Views
THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is pushing for an electronic justice delivery system which will improve efficiency and help litigants access their files in a timely manner.

In its strategic plan for 2021 to 2025 launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday, the JSC said it was finalising the development of an Integrated Electronic Case Management System, which is an extension of the commission's ICT infrastructure.

At the moment, most of the paperwork and filing in Zimbabwean courts is done manually, which is a cumbersome process.

On many occasions, accused persons are spending unnecessary time in remand while waiting for their record to be finalised before they can approach the High Court for bail.

"The commission will institutionalise the use of technology in all facets of justice delivery. ICT has enormous potential to provide a quantum leap in the administration of justice as a cross-cutting imperative for all the pillars
of transformation.

"The JSC has in recent years made modest progress in integrating technology into its operations. For instance, the commission has a strong presence on social media through its twitter account, its website is regularly updated, the JSC prepares and avails most of its publications in both hard and electronic format and uses a robust financial management system."

"Information Kiosks operated at the High Court in Harare have been successful at the pilot phase and the JSC will undertake nationwide rollout within the next planning cycle," the JSC said in the strategy document.

The commission endeavours to adopt E-justice systems in the next five years which would include routine remand hearings being done through video conferencing to save costs and increase access to justice.

"Automation and digitisation of the courts and the modernisation of administrative systems is a major priority in the strategic planning cycle.

"While the process of automating some of these operational procedures has already begun on a limited scale, the commission will, as part of the JSC Strategic Plan (2021-2025), focus on rolling out the full automation of all its internal systems and operating procedures.

"This process will involve training of all members of the Judicial Service on basic computer skills, followed by the procurement and installation of appropriate hardware and software of all court stations.

"The technology will include: Internet access for all; appropriate software for finance and audit officers; integrated electronic case management systems for all courts; appeals and reviews tracking system; digital research centre and electronic libraries (Hein-on Line and Lexis Nexis) for Judicial Officers and Policy and Legal Services teams," the JSC said.

The Strategic Plan is set to come into effect in 2021.

Source - dailynews