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Chief Justice Mrs Sophia Akuffo

Judicial Service goes paperless

BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | muntalla.inusah@dailyheritage.com.gh

AS PART of the government’s e-Transform Programme that seeks to automate the existing manual filing systems within the Court’s environment, the Judicial Service has officially launched the e-Justice System.

This is to ensure that duplication of suit numbers, handwritten documentation and manually created files, manual payments, as well as receipts for court processes, which result in fraudulent activities and delays in some instances, will be a thing of the past.

To this end, the e-justice project will be an electronic platform for process filing, process service, fee assessment, automated allocation of cases to Courts and Judges’ calendar management and matters filed in the Registries of the Court.

Launching the e-Justice System on the premises of the Law Courts Complex in Accra yesterday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed confidence in the newly-adopted e-justice system by the Judicial Service.

 

The President maintained that the paperless court system operates with minimum interference, hence there is a guarantee of greater delivery in the judiciary system.

Delivering his speech as the Special Guest of Honour at the event, he said, “The application of technology to the practice of law and the administration of justice will help facilitate the nation’s ability to reach these goals of an effective and stress-free judiciary”.

“We have witnessed several instances of people feeling short-changed because of the cumbersome nature of the processes involving filing cases. Some, along the line, gave up on the Justice System. Justice must be done to all manner of persons without fear or favour. This is the true meaning of equality within the concept of the law,” he said.

No more delays

Her Ladyship Chief Justice (CJ) Sophia Akuffo, on her part, said she felt excited that the unacceptable delays in justice delivery, coupled with the frustration of lawyers and clients, had come to an end following the introduction of the e-Justice system.

“The effort is a culmination that has spanned several years and it’s born of the clear need to reform the system we have where poor paper-based processes and record keeping are the cause of unacceptable delays in justice administration to the frustration of Judges, lawyers as well as those who come to the court in search of justice,” the CJ said.

“Our recording systems are integrated into this current system because we will not be running any parallel systems – Criminal tracking system will also integrate into this system and when we get to lower courts, their system will also feed into what we are inaugurating today. So we will have a seamless justice administration and delivery system that will speed up the processes from commencement of suit up to the final Appeal,” she noted while explaining how the electronic system will be administered at the various courts.

“A pilot stage, under which the 44 Courts in this Law Court Complex utilised the programme, has been undertaken. With the lessons learnt and insight from this stage, we are now ready to roll out to the courts in regions across the country, including Tema, by 2022.

“It is our hope and grand ambition that this programme will grow to cover every Court in the country so that every citizen in this country can have the benefit of a speedy and efficient justice system. The lower Courts will not be left behind and over the same period we will commence rollout for the application in those Courts, which constitute the backbone of our justice service delivery,” the CJ explained.

Timely initiative

For her part, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, commended the Judiciary for the e-Justice system, which she described as a timely initiative, saying it was prompt action by the Judicial Service to improve the quality of service delivery using information and technology.

“The digital revolution is quietly unfolding and we are living witnesses to its positive transformative power. The Judicial Service is also feeling it now. We say it is “digitime” in Ghana,” Mrs Ursula Ekuful said.

A “proof-of-concept” pilot project is currently being implemented at the Law Court Complex, which houses 44 High Courts. This project is wholly sponsored by the World Bank. E-Justice simply provides the electronic platform for filing, process services, fees assessment and payment, allocation of cases to courts/judges, judges’ calendar management and the execution of processes for all cases filed at the Registry of the courts.

The e-justice project is sponsored by the World Bank through the Ministry of Communications. The Judicial Service of Ghana is the implementing agency and a South African firm, Messrs. EOH, is the Solution Provider, with an American company, Messrs. Leading Associates, playing a supervisory role.

Source: Ghana/dailyheritage.com.gh/March 21, 2019

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