Court session to go digital with introduction of video conferencing in June -CJ Maraga

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BY CORRESPONDENT,MOMBASA,26TH JAN 2018-The judiciary is set to  introduce video conferencing during court proceedings starting  June. Speaking in Mombasa on Friday chief Justice David Maraga said this will reduce costs and risks of transporting legal officers and litigants.

Maraga announced that 15 judges and five magistrates have been nominated for the pilot programme.

“We have commenced the training of chip users and about 80 court stations have been connected to reliable internet amid efforts to digitise our judicial service delivery,” he said .

The CJ, who addressed the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, said all lawyers will be expected to file their applications online, following the rollout in March.

This is key to reduction of information loss and maintenance of fair administration of justice for all, he said, adding the judiciary will be able to clear case backlogs in its registries.

“So far, we have made some strides in reducing these backlogs. We have reduced the number of cases from over one million cases to 500,000 and we hope that before the year ends, we shall have cleared all the cases that are more than five years old,” he said.

“We have also asked our court stations to stop unnecessary adjournments, return of files and regular dismissals, and dedicate one week in every month to hearing old cases.”

The CJ said despite courts having handled 35,000 of 48,000 cases that are not more than five years old last year,the judiciary  still grapples  with many ‘dead’ cases.This according to Maraga are cases which complainants are no longer interested in pursuing, whose files got lost or ones that ‘died’ for other reasons.

The CJ added they have only four Courts of Appeal and 39 High Courts which are expected to handle all of the country’s cases in a timely fashion.

“We wish to at least have High Court stations in all counties and employ more judges and magistrates for speedy dispensation of justice.”

Maraga announed that about 100 courts were under construction, a project funded by the World Bank.

He said though government-funded projects come with many challenges, there is need to refocus on supporting the transformation the service is undertaking.

He added that the judiciary under his  leadership is focusing  on moving from capacity building to station-based service delivery .

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