Courts to relay information via SMS

By Evelyn Kwamboka

Plans are also underway to enable litigants access information from the courts using Short Message Service (SMS) through their mobile phones.

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru said Technology Source Point Company Ltd has already been awarded the tender.

The contractor has delivered and installed a server but is yet to install the software that will be used for capturing data that will be accessible to litigants via SMS.

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru (left) and Judge Alnashir Visram follow proceedings of a case in Mombasa via satellite in Nairobi . [PHOTO: Evans Habil/STANDARD]

Speaking yesterday during the launch of Sh5 billion Information Communication Technology plan, the CJ said appeal cases could now be heard through a video link between Nairobi and Mombasa law courts.

"They are vital in the Judiciary’s drive to deliver swift justice, resolving cases faster, freeing up time and improving the service given to victims, witnesses and defendants," he said.

The plan, which is part of the judicial reforms, is to have an effect on performance contracts for officers at the Judiciary and Attorney General’s office.

Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani said ICT and new laws would enable the Judiciary estimate how long cases would take to be finalised.

She said this would make officers indicate case timeframes in their performance contracts.

Simplify processes

Gicheru explained that the new technology would simplify processes such as registration of documents and record keeping.

An ICT consultant commissioned to determine the nature and volume of the court records to be digitised has already completed phase one of the project.

The first phase involved preparation of court files filed at the High Court and Court of Appeal in the last 10 years.

The consultant cleansed 325,000 files and made recommendations for document management system and standards for scanning.