Justice Aloma Mukthar
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukthar, Wednesday said the slow pace of justice dispensation will soon become a thing of the past as she endorsed an automated case management system for the Supreme Court.
Speaking while receiving the consultants working with the National Judicial Council (NJC) to introduce a computerised case management system, Mukthar said she remained committed to an open, transparent and efficient judiciary.
The CJN said she had been assured by the consultant that by July next year, an automated cases management system would have been put in place in the Supreme Court while other pilot courts will follow suit later.
She said: “The computerisation project is very dear to me. From the day I was sworn in as CJN I had it in mind to see a judiciary whereby anyone can access and see what is happening.
“We will execute the project to a logical conclusion. The project is very dear to us.”
The CJN who bemoaned the present pace of justice delivery said she was committed to putting in place a justice delivery system that would meet the yearnings and expectations of the people.
The computerisation would replace the use of long hands to record court proceedings by judges and also to ensure that within minutes of delivery of a court’s judgement, it would be accessible throughout the world.
Besides, it would drastically reduce or cause the disappearance of many of the traditional obstructions to an efficient justice system, while filling and service of court processes would be done electronically.
The consultants working with the NJC on the computerisation projects are the National Council for State Courts (NCSC) and the Centre for Legal and Court Technology, (CLCT).
Responding on behalf of the consultants, the Vice-President of NCSC, Mr Jeffrey Apperson, assured the CJN that the case management system would be in place by July next year at the Supreme Court.
Last year, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher launched
the first ever Nigerian Judiciary Information Technology Policy Document for the computerisation of every facet of the judiciary in the country.
The CJN launched the policy document after the chairman of the Nigerian Judiciary Information Technology Policy Document committee (JITPO-COM), Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Justice of Borno State presented the document to him.
Justice Musdapher said he set up the committee with the view to have a judicial system that would replace out-of -date processes and paper based system which delay the administration and dispensation of justice in the country.
The committee which he said was composed of both judicial and non-judicial officers was directed to design and develop a comprehensive IT policy that could be implemented in all jurisdiction.
The former CJN then said: “The policy would serve as a blue print to integrate, propel and mainstream IT in the Nigerian judiciary. I am proud and delighted that within a short period of time, a major part of the assignment has been accomplished.”
However, the CJN hinted that for easy adoption and implementation of the policy, he had earlier directed the National Judicial Institute (NJI) to commence the training of the judicial officers and judicial staff on the use and application of IT systems.
“This include electronic, digital recording and transcription of court proceedings as well as other electronic case management proceedings. This policy is the beginning of fast track trials, fair and speedy dispensation of justice.”
He noted that if Nigerian banks could be fully computerised and adopt electronic technology to run all their services, Nigerian judiciary could do same.