21 October 2010

Nigeria: FCT Judiciary to Begin E-Court System Jan 2011

Abuja — Justice administration within the Federal Capital Territory has assumed a new dimension as FCT Judiciary yesterday said it had perfected plans to commence electronic-Court system from January 2011.

The Chief Judge of FCT, Justice Lawal H. Gummi, who made this disclosure while commissioning a new high court and family court complex at Apo, a suburb in Abuja yesterday, said the system would make it possible for litigants outside the country to file and monitor the progress of their cases via the internet.

Describing the e-court initiative as a novelty, Justice Gummi maintained that the system would further enhance justice delivery in the country, stressing that the computerized legal method was inline with international best practices.

According to him, "judges from 2011 will be assigned to hear cases filed electronically and also determine same through the e-court system."

Under this system, which is already practiced in countries like Malaysia, litigants can institute their case even from outside the country, select their counsels online, monitor the progress of the case from inception to judgment and a certified true copy made available to them within 24 hours.

"This is why we have commenced serious ICT-compliant training scheme for Judges, court registrars and clerks in the FCT judiciary in order to keep them abreast with what the online litigation method entails.

"The automation and computerization of the court process will improve transparency and ensure proper documentation of cases because both audio and video recordings of court proceedings will be saved in digital formats and stored in hard disks" he added.

The CJ further disclosed that I-pads, law pavilion software with decided Supreme Court cases, and configured laptops, were hitherto distributed to High court Judges, Magistrates, Area Court Judges and Heads of Departments in the FCT judiciary, adding that plans to install an e-library that is connected to the Library of Congress in the United States, was currently on the way.

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