National Judicial Workshop on Potential of ICT in Case Management and Court Administration
Dhaka, 18 May 2012: A two day National Judicial Workshop on Potential of ICT in Case Management and Court Administration was held on 18-19 May 2012 at Supreme Court Auditorium jointly organized by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and UNDP Bangladesh targeting the judges of Supreme Court and Dhaka Court. The first day was for the judges of the Supreme Court and 2nd day for the judges of the Dhaka Court and Judges are on deputation in the MoLJPA, Law Commission, Judicial Administrative Training Institute (JATI), Solicitors Office and Judicial Service Commission. The idea was to provide the judges a detailed overview of how ICT can be used in the court system to enhance efficiency, access, timeliness, transparency and accountability, helping the judiciary to provide adequate service. Most importantly, it also provides the opportunities for unique insight into the dynamics and problems.
The Honorable Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Mr. Justice Md. Muzammel Hossain graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. In his speech he welcomed the auspicious inauguration of concerted efforts to support capacity development for the judiciary and towards better justice service provision for all. Mr.Stefan Priesner, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh was present as special guest and in his address emphasized the importance of improved justice delivery for continued good progress of the country and pledged UNDP ongoing support for the sector as a whole.
The Supreme Court and UNDP are working together to move towards digitalizing the court system and have already undertaken initiatives for introducing ICT in the everyday court processes. Over the past one year significant progress has been achieved and sound first steps achieved toward establishment of e-justice.
This workshop represents the first national event for the recently launched Judicial Strengthening Project (JUST), implemented by the Supreme Court and supported by UNDP. JUST aims to improve access to justice, especially for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, by supporting the Judiciary to improve case management and reduce case backlogs. JUST will focus on:
- Improving case management in the Supreme Court and lower courts;
- improving service delivery for court users in 3 selected District Courts;
- Improving strategic planning and administrative capacity of the Supreme Court; and
- Training for capacity strengthening on case-management.
The JUST Project will also allow us to further the development of digital justice delivery through increased use of ICT not only in the Supreme Court but also for the Projects three pilot districts, to get the best benefits for increased efficiencies in case management and court administration which will mitigate the sufferings of the relevant stakeholders.
UNDP and Supreme Court of Bangladesh are closely working together to establish a linkage between ICT and the Court system for promoting e-justice in ensuring better access to justice. It will ensure the pragmatic contribution towards improving the access to justice through speedy justice delivery system. Over the past one year UNDP has achieved significant progress in introducing ICT in the court system. As a first step, the initiatives included successful completion of case status information automation through mobile SMS, which now enables litigants to receive case related information on the mobile phone. The following are the main ICT interventions that are already established:
- SMS based case status information system.
- Introduced on web based district portal primarily for Dhaka Court and that will eventually be rolled out all over the country.
- State-of-the-art LAN deployment at Dhaka Court and computerization of all the courts under Dhaka Court.
- Established data connectivity between Dhaka Court and Supreme Court
All the initiatives are sound first steps toward e-justice and ensuring better access to justice. Gradually the whole business process of the court will be brought digitalization and finally with the whole judiciary of Bangladesh.
The as per the mandate of the JUST project, access to legal information is one of the main instruments in ensuring human rights protection and justice delivery. However, inadequate public access to legal information creates challenges for proper service delivery by duty-bearers in the justice sector. As such several ICT initiatives have been taken for addressing this problem, the Supreme Court has launched an SMS-based case status information automation service for litigants, which widens the platform for accessing the justice system with little effort and cost.
The project will support to reform rule of procedure of the court system by revamping the existing business process in line with the modern practices for enhancing quicker justice delivery system and to develop a comprehensive ICT strategic plan in line with the court’s business plan for the Supreme Court for the better sustainability of an ICT based court system. At the Supreme Court, efforts will focus on: building the systems and structures to identify the causes of the backlogs; and then on the basis of analysis of case data; lessons from the field; technical assistance and procedural reforms to slowly reduce the backlog. The more intensive use of ICT in Court can play a crucial role in reducing case backlogs and enhancing capacity of court administration.
The ultimate beneficiaries of the ICT based court system will be the citizens of Bangladesh, in particular, court users and their families in pilot districts. The judiciary will be the direct beneficiaries who will be capacitated to provide efficient and effective access to a remedy as well as become a strengthened pillar of the state. The impacts and benefits of a more efficient and accessible judiciary will facilitate good governance, poverty reduction and create confidence in the investment climate of the country.
For further information please contact: Mr. Mahtab Haider, Communications Analyst, UNDP via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph: +88 02 815 0088, ext. 1805, mob: +88 01713 014604