Nairobi — The old tale of missing files in the Judiciary could be a thing of the past, with the launch of electronic filling in Nairobi courts.
Chief Justice David Maraga said the programme unveiled on Wednesday will be rolled out to Kisumu and Mombasa ahead of a nationwide lauch.
"This is something we could have done long time ago, everyone is going online but now we have started with Nairobi and will roll out to other parts," the CJ said.
With the launch of the e-filing system, all parties including Judges and Magistrates will be able to access all case files and documents online.
The system will be integrated with all major stakeholders like the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Kenya Prison Service and the Lands office.
"Let me confess here that sometimes the files don't get lost. Malicious acts of some of our staff in collusion with outsiders, just take a file and put in the wrong bundle. That is something that will be a thing of the past," the Chief Justice said.
He said the online system will also help solve the other challenge in authentication of court orders.
"We have occasionally had situations where orders have been issued for the release of those in prison or remand facilities. At times it takes two to three days for the prison service to authenticate them," he said, "but this will be immediately now."
With the online system, litigants through their lawyers will easily file their documents even during the weekend at the comfort of their offices, pay legal fees and obtain a case number.
In addition, the CJ said the system has "an automated fee assessment and payment module which utilizes various platforms such as M-PESA and credit cards to effect the required financial transactionS and generate e-receipts. This will minimize pilferage of court fees ."
The ambitious project kicked off in 2014 .
Speaking during the launch, East African Community Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed challenged the Judiciary to work on resolving legal disputes expeditiously in the business sector, to ensure the country improves its ranking as a destination for investors.
He said the situation is likely to improve with the digitization of the Judiciary activities, an exercise that kicked off in 2014, when the country had been ranked position 137 out of 190 countries in terms of its attractiveness to investors.
"Today we are here to witness a really significant milestone in filing cases electronically. I had an opportunity of visiting the registry here in Nairobi and I think it was quite scary the way things are done," he said.