Nairobi courts will from today use electronic case filing system, the Chief Justice David Maraga (pictured
) has announced.
This now means the courts will increasingly use ICT platforms to conduct hearings and deliver judgments and rulings. This new program will be followed by Court Recording and Transcription Systems.
The move is in conformity with the need to limit gatherings in the precincts of the courts during the time that the country is battling the coronavirus pandemic.
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CJ Maraga said the digitisation of the Judiciary services marked the singular most important step in harnessing technology as an integral part in dispensing the judicial services to Kenyans.
“The system has been designed, developed, and implemented by our very own Judiciary's Directorate of ICT and has many advantages and is expected to significantly impact on the speed, accuracy and efficiency of service delivery,” he said.
However, the CJ acknowledged the challenges of poor internet connectivity and urged judges and litigants to try and get good internet connection to ensure services to Kenyans are not hampered.
“As we have said we have no choice, we can’t go back. Ask your members to try their best and get stable internet connectivity,” he advised.
In that regard he also urged the ICT Ministry, to ensure there is good internet connectivity in rural areas to boost the operations at the Judiciary as the country embraces the new change.
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“Especially in the country side, admittedly internet connectivity is very poor. Let the Ministry do something about that so that we can move forward. In this time and age one of the things we should have as a country is internet connectivity which is stable to enable us transact the business we have,” he said.
The CJ also decried lack of adequate resources required to ensure the judicial functions are not derailed and the automation of proceedings does not hit a snag.
“If we can’t get the funding this project will fall in another one or two years… I will continue crying for Kenyan people,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who was also at the event, applauded the Judiciary for the initiative saying it will reduce chances of corruption, enhance transparency and accountability.
"The e-filing system by the Judiciary will help increase and achieve higher levels of efficiency to all stakeholders. The process will save time as court users will file their pleading online,” Haji said.
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His office and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had been advised to familiarize themselves with the e-filing system by visiting the Judiciary portal ahead of its launch.
The move comes after the courts upscaled operations following the downsizing of functions due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Judiciary has therefore been stepping up efforts to incorporate the use of technology to conduct hearings and deliver judgements and rulings.
CJ Maraga gave a number of safety protocols to allow judges and litigants to observe safety in the prosecution of cases.
For instance, the CJ directed that lawyers and individuals involved in civil cases would wait to be called for appearances, while the prosecutors and detectives handling criminal cases would be required to go to the courts on specified dates.