A Justice of the High Court has said, “the judicial service is excited about going paperless after 62 years of Ghana’s independence.”
According to Justice Ellen Amoah, the system which is currently being piloted is hoped to improve court integrity, save time and money for court users.
Illustrating how the electronic system saves time and money on the Joy FM Super Morning Show Tuesday, she said “The judges themselves have their calendar management feature in the system. The essence of that is that you will no longer come to court and be told your judge is unwell or your judge has gone to training.
“If your judge has any authorised form of absence, they would have logged it into the system and the automatic case distributors would by-pass that judge and assign it to the relieving judge. So the system is designed in such a way that it is saving time and saving money,” she told Daniel Dadzie, host of Joy FM SMS Tuesday.
On integrity, she said “It increases the integrity of the administration of justice in the country. It does that by removing the court interface between the client user and the court administrative staff, you do not have the opportunity for errant conduct to exist,”
Explaining the E-justice System, Justice Amoah said “it is an automated workflow system right from the point when the client interfaces the system[from the filing of cases]” right to the point of execution.
She added that “It is web-based and accessible in any part of Ghana where there is internet.”
On how the system works, Mr. Francis Baiden, Deputy Director, ICT in charge of e-Justice said: “every user will be issued with a unique identifier, also called Business Partner ID”.
To get this ID, he said, one must give their full name, email address, mobile number and GPS address. In the case of lawyers, he said it their solicitor’s number, firm’s name and firm’s license number which will be required to log them onto the system. The court then issues you an ID which you then activate on the e-justice webpage.
Complementing Baiden’s explanation, the High Court Judge said the system does not exclude those in the villages.
“There are the license bureaus, licensed by the judicial service. One only needs to take their documentation to the bureau assistants who then “will enter your details into the system.”
“All a person requires is simple mobile phone device where schedules of their court dates can be sent to them via text message.”
According to the Ministry of Justice website, with the introduction and implementation of the Electronic Case Management System, typical challenges that characterize the existing manual court would be a thing of the past.
Some of the challenges are duplication of suit numbers, handwritten documentation and manually created files, manual transfer of documents from one person to the other through the registries, high case processing times and case backlogs, manual payments and receipts for court processes, which may result in fraudulent activities, delays in court processes, manual financial reconciliation, inconsistent reporting at various levels and loss of documentation during processing.
On the other hand, a paperless court experience comes with the following, digitisation of records and creation of e-docket for easy access and reference by Judges.
Again it is hoped to provide electronic generation of suit numbers, easy retrieval of court records, quick and efficient processing of cases, and receipt of electronic notifications on all Court actions or activities, thus keeping Court Users abreast of the status of their cases.