December 24, 2020. NEW GUIDELINES ISSUED TO COURTS IN RESPECT TO E-SERVICES
The Judiciary has embarked on a bold digital transformation journey that has grown in leaps and bounds during the Covid-19 pandemic period. Judges and magistrates have been empowered with equipment, facilities and training to deliver justice digitally ensuring that the wheels of justice don’t grind to a halt despite the limited physical court appearances.
Among the flagship projects was the digital transformation of Nairobi courts which went completely paperless on July 1, 2020. Services such as e-filing, e-service, e-payment are now exclusively offered online. Courts across the country have all adopted technology and many judgements and rulings have been rendered online. The Judiciary would like to acknowledge and thank our stakeholders, particularly the advocates and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for joining hands with us to ensure that digital transformation becomes a reality and is replicated in every court country-wide.
In the same breath, we acknowledge the challenges that we have been facing, with the novel system. A program of this magnitude will no doubt have challenges including technological and financial. Some of the challenges are outside the purview of the Judiciary, like unstable internet or lack of electricity in parts of the country
To this end, our clients, particularly advocates and litigants have given us feedback, which we have considered seriously and taken into account. The feedback includes their frustrations with the rigidity of the system. When the e-system is down for example, some clients have been turned back resulting in great inconveniencies for both advocates and litigants. Indigent clients have also had challenging times when owing to financial or technological problems they have been unable to access services.
In the light of all of the above, the Judiciary has today issued new guidelines on e-filing to all courts directing Heads of Stations clearly on what to do in the event of system failure. Among other directions, they have been advised under what circumstances manual documents may be accepted. We believe that the new guidelines will go a long way in addressing the issues of delay or denied services.
It is emphasized that this is not a reversal to the manual system, but rather providing solutions that resonate with clients and are in line with the Constitutional provision that justice should be administered without undue regard to technicalities.
The Judiciary remains on course in the digitization journey and would like to that assure our stakeholders and the public that despite the challenges, there will be no turning back.
JUDICIARY MEDIA SERVICE