The launch of e-filling in all courts countrywide, data tracking dashboard, and cause list portal

Esteemed guests,

Good afternoon!

  1. I want to start by expressing my gratitude for your presence today, as the Judiciary embarks on a significant advancement in our operations.
  2. This momentous occasion marks a giant leap in our commitment to transforming how we deliver justice through the strategic use of technology, in alignment with the ‘Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ)’ blueprint for the Judiciary. Our goal is to enhance productivity, automate processes, digitize services, and establish a paperless environment, thereby making justice more accessible and reducing the geographical barriers to accessing justice.

 

Launch of e-filling in all courts countrywide

  1. Tracing the journey of e-filling in the Kenyan judiciary starts with the launch of e-filling in Nairobi in June 2020 after many previous false starts and initiatives that did not pick up.
  2. We have since witnessed remarkable progress, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The success in Nairobi paved the way for us to extend these benefits across the country. E-filing allows for remote case filing, offering a convenient platform for legal practitioners and the public to engage with the justice system online, thereby improving accessibility, efficiency, and inclusivity.
  3. The expansion of e-filing beyond Nairobi began with the roll-out in Mombasa County in April 2023, with 13 counties already on-boarded and enjoying the use of this service. We are now reaching a national scale with court stations in the remaining 34 counties being on-boarded today. This marks a transformative step in making our justice system more efficient and accessible.
  4. This achievement is the result of relentless efforts by our dedicated Directorate of ICT, the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) Committee led by Justice Isaac Lenaola, and the support of our partners and stakeholders. I thank you all for your hard work and dedication that has made this long-held dream a reality.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Today, we celebrate not only the expansion of e-filing but also our ongoing commitment to innovation within the Kenyan Judiciary. The introduction of virtual courts and hearings has significantly improved access to justice, enabling legal practitioners and litigants to participate in proceedings from various locations and witnesses to testify from abroad. These advancements, despite challenges with system functionality and internet stability, are part of our broader initiative to enhance the quality of our services through technology.
  1. The Judiciary is actively improving internet connectivity at all court stations, with projects like the Google connectivity project and the Court LAN project, aiming to ensure stable and efficient access to our digital services.
  2. Additionally, we are also embracing technology to ensure the accurate and prompt transcription of court proceedings. With the establishment of a pilot transcription centre, we are set to offer transcription services across the country, aiming to alleviate the workload on our judges and judicial officers and expedite the hearing process.
  3. The nationwide launch of e-filing is a critical component of our broader effort to leverage technology for a more efficient justice system. This system simplifies case filing, tracking, and management, therefore promoting transparency, accountability, and responsiveness of our system of administration of justice.
  4. In addition to our technological advancements, the nationwide rollout of e-filing is a significant stride towards achieving a paperless Judiciary, aligning with our commitment to green justice. This initiative is not merely about embracing digital transformation; it is a conscious effort to reduce our environmental footprint. By transitioning from traditional paper-based case filing to a digital platform, we are significantly cutting down on paper consumption, thereby contributing to environmental conservation.
  5. The move towards a paperless Judiciary reflects our dedication to sustainable practices and responsible stewardship of our environmental resources. It exemplifies our broader commitment to a green justice agenda, wherein the Judiciary not only ensures the rule of law but also contributes to the protection of our planet. Through e-filing, we are demonstrating that the pursuit of justice can go hand in hand with environmental sustainability, setting a precedent for eco-conscious practices in the public sector.
  6. To further strengthen these green practices, I now direct that pleadings and documents will be accessed and processed online as printing will cease from July 1, 2024. Thus, no court should print pleadings and documents from July 1, 2024. The resources that go towards the purchase of printing paper will be used to buy desktops and laptops.
  7. In addition, I direct the Directorate of ICT to work towards enhancing the user experience within our Case Tracking System by improving the layout of documents. This initiative should target making the platform more user-friendly, thereby facilitating easier navigation and interaction for all users.
  8. We are also embarking on a comprehensive re-orientation programme that will run over the next three months, targeting all Judges, Judicial Officers, and Staff. This programme is designed to familiarise and ensure all persons working within the Judiciary are in a position to manage court processes through our online platforms. This skill enhancement programme will ensure that our personnel are well-equipped and comfortable using these digital tools.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. As we embark on this new chapter, I would like to take a moment to ask us to reflect on the fact that the ultimate success of e-filing, and indeed, our broader digitization and automation efforts, will depend on the buy-in and active participation of all stakeholders in the justice system. To our Honourable Judges, Judicial Officers, and Judicial staff, I urge you to embrace this initiative and the opportunities it presents for greater efficiency, productivity, and service delivery.
  2. To the legal practitioners and litigants, I encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the e-filing system and to use it to its fullest potential. By doing so, you will not only contribute to the improvement of our justice system but also reap the benefits of a more accessible, user-friendly, and efficient platform for the resolution of disputes.
  3. Crucially, the integration of our e-filing system with the Uadilifu e-system, operated by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), exemplifies our commitment to interoperability and collaboration across the justice sector. This integration facilitates a more coordinated and seamless experience for all users, reflecting our dedication to enhancing the justice delivery system through technological innovation.
  4. To our sister Justice Sector agencies, including the Attorney General’s Chambers, the ODPP, the Police, the Prisons, Probation and Aftercare Services, Children’s Department, amongst others, I am certain we will continue with the positive trajectory of working closely as we strive to realise the goal of ensuring that the e-filing system is fully integrated and operational within all our institutions. By harnessing the power of technology, we can work together to deliver justice more effectively and expeditiously to the citizens of Kenya.

 

Data tracking dashboard

  1. We are also marking another milestone in the Judiciary’s journey towards embracing technology for greater efficiency and accountability. This we are doing with the launch of the Data Tracking Dashboard, a cutting-edge tool designed to revolutionise the way we monitor case processing within our courts.
  2. This innovative dashboard utilizes the Case Tracking System to extract and analyze crucial data. It allows us to monitor how cases are processed through our courts and tribunals from filing to conclusion. Furthermore, it provides vital insights into our case clearance rates, offering a clear picture of our performance in addressing the caseload. One of the most compelling features of this dashboard is its ability to detect and analyze case adjournments, pinpointing the reasons behind them and enabling comparisons across different courts.
  3. The Data Tracking Dashboard propels us towards a new standard of accountability. With real-time monitoring capabilities, the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, and Heads of Court can now oversee the progress and performance of all court stations across the country. This technology ensures that our leadership is informed and empowered to address any challenges promptly, enhancing our operational efficiency.
  4. Starting tomorrow, 12th March 2024, this system will go live. It signifies a transformation in how we oversee our courts’ performance. For example, I, as the Chief Justice, will have the ability to access real-time statistics for any court or tribunal at my fingertips, without the need for physical inspections. This marks the dawn of a new era of judicial accountability, powered by technological innovation.
  5. Moreover, the dashboard is a critical tool for evidence-informed decision-making. It highlights trends and caseloads, such as identifying regions with high incidences of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV), guiding us in the strategic establishment of specialized SGBV courts. This analysis aids the entire justice sector by pinpointing areas requiring intervention, ensuring that our efforts are targeted and effective.
  6. To ensure the accuracy of data in the CTS we are also moving from a manual MS Word reporting tool to an automated monthly returns system which compares input data with the data in the CTS. To facilitate this transition, I hereby direct the Directorate of ICT to undertake comprehensive training of all Judges and Judicial Officers on the Automated Monthly returns system and begin the implementation of the Automated Monthly Returns system.

 

Cause list portal

  1. Yet another milestone in our continuous journey towards enhancing transparency and accessibility within the Kenyan Judiciary is the launch of the Cause List Portal. Availing to the public the Cause List Portal is a significant step forward in our mission to make justice more accessible and user-friendly for all Kenyans.
  2. The Cause List Portal is an innovative, public-facing platform that has been seamlessly integrated with our Case Tracking System (CTS). This integration allows for real-time updates and easy access to cause lists, which are schedules of cases to be heard in court on any given day. Traditionally, accessing these lists required litigants and advocates to engage in cumbersome and time-consuming communication with court staff especially in court stations where they do not usually practice, often leading to inefficiencies and unnecessary delays.
  3. From today forward, the need for such indirect methods of obtaining court schedules has become obsolete. With just a few clicks on the Cause List Portal, anyone, regardless of their location within the country or abroad, can easily find out when and where a case is scheduled to be heard. This direct access to court schedules empowers litigants and advocates, ensuring that they are better prepared and informed about their matters that are coming up for hearing.
  4. This initiative is not just about simplifying access to information; it is about enhancing the efficiency of our judicial processes and ensuring that the Judiciary is more responsive to the needs of those we serve. By providing direct access to cause lists, we aim to eliminate the uncertainties and anxieties associated with the scheduling of court matters, thereby making the legal process more transparent and predictable.
  5. Moreover, the Cause List Portal represents our commitment to leveraging technology to improve the delivery of justice. In a world where information is power, we are ensuring that all stakeholders in the justice sector have the tools they need to effectively participate in the legal process. This portal is a testament to our dedication to removing barriers to justice and making the Judiciary more accessible to everyone, regardless of their geographic location or socio-economic status.

 

Conclusion

  1. To conclude, today is not just a celebration of technological advancement; it is a reaffirmation of our unwavering commitment to delivering justice for all Kenyans. These three technological tools we are launching today, embody our commitment to harnessing technology to serve justice better. They signal our dedication not only to improving the administration of justice but also to ensuring that our judiciary is accessible, responsive, and in tune with the needs of the people we serve.
  2. As we move to the future, let us leverage technology for excellence in service delivery. Let us continue to work together, leveraging these tools to build a judiciary that is more efficient, transparent, accountable, and accessible.
  1. Thank you for your attention, your support, and your commitment to the realisation of these transformative projects.

The keynote address was delivered on 11th March 2024 by the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

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Guest author The Platform Magazine