E-COURTS

Judiciary urged to exploit more ways to dispense justice

Lawyer says the Judiciary should work through other mediums and ensure it operates to the maximum, virtually.

In Summary

• LSK President Nelson Havi accused judges and magistrates of being ruffled by his support for up-scaling judicial operations when most offices are closed due to Covid-19.

• Kadima said the judicial lockdown is limited to physical, adding that judiciary needs to work through other mediums and ensure it operates to the maximum, virtually.

The Judiciary should exploit more ways of dispensing justice to ensure the worrying trend of cases is not pending in courts.

Advocate and former magistrate Francis Kadima said the Judiciary should come up with cheaper technology that can be used by everyone seeking services along the corridors of justice.

Chief Justice David Maraga a few weeks ago announced that all pending judgments and rulings be delivered by May 30 even as he accused a section of judges and magistrates of not working following the partial shutdown of the courts.

 
 
 

Maraga’s internal memo at the end of April came even as the Law Society of Kenya President, Nelson Havi, accused judges and magistrates of being ruffled by his support for up-scaling judicial operations when most offices are closed due to Covid-19.

Havi in a tweet said, “I have given judges and magistrates who congregate daily while drinking alcohol to plan how to frustrate my matters in court for standing firm on the rule of law a month. Ensure you succeed in that.”

Kadima, an Executive board member of Kituo cha Sheria, said the judicial lockdown is limited to physical, adding that judiciary needs to work through other mediums and ensure it operates to the maximum, virtually.

We should not overwhelm ourselves with this issue of lockdown in order to enforce social distancing in line with World Health Organization guidelines, communication need not be physical.
Advocate and former magistrate Francis Kadima

The lawyer added that those involved in the administration of justice should come together and devise ways to make access to justice easier, cheaper and transparent.

“The issue of having missing files will be a thing of the past. The time wasted arranging files in registries, too much manpower is required. The expense on human resource will be minimized almost zero-rated also with a calmer atmosphere as they will be able to cover more in terms of work,” he said.

He said the judiciary was grappling with the question on whether the health guidelines on the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 should delay or stop altogether with the timely access to Justice.

 

“This is not supposed to be a question for debate at this time. What about if the way the Government is handling its response to Covid-19 is in itself a question that goes against the rule of law and the administration of Justice? Who is supposed to determine such a matter?” Kadima posed.

The Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists had on Thursday said the use of technology to conduct cases has greatly disadvantaged the poor.

“We must learn to continue working with Coronavirus in order to sustain our economy.

All we need to do is follow the health guidelines by setting up systems that conform to those guidelines. Digitization of judicial operations is the first step.

“We have skype, conferencing using all applications on Microsoft team, Twitter and all the user-friendly applications that are cheap to use,” Kadima added.

Kadima also noted that even as the system embraces technology, innovative ways should be sought of protecting it against system abuse by fraudsters.

“The Judiciary knows what should be done to enhance access to justice more particularly having regard to the mixed signs regarding reopening of the courts. Like a pilot, the Judiciary must determine the altitude and speed at which to fly keeping in mind that justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.


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