The Judiciary focus is on strengthening justice systems by putting people at the centre of everything they do, improving the quality of justice and reducing barriers to service delivery.
According to the chair of the Integrated Court Management System (ICMS) Judge Isaac Lenaola, one of the key pillars of the Judicial transformative agenda is leveraging technology for enhanced productivity.
This can be done through process automation, virtual courts and digitization of Judiciary services to entrench a paperless practice and to reduce the distance to courts.
Speaking today during the launch of the e-filing for Kiambu county at Kiambu law courts, Lenaola who is also the Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya said launch of e-filing in this County today will certainly improve the way services are offered and accessed.
“In overall, the e-filing system will reduce time to file cases from average five (5) hours to just twenty (20) minutes resolving long turnaround time in retrieving required documents,” he said
The Judge further said the e-filing will not only resolve the ever-growing demand for physical space to store physical files, non-filing and misfiling of cases but will further eliminate under assessment and over assessment of court fees as well as enable judges and judicial officers to access and use electronic case documents.
“Case documents will be filed in softcopy electronically and the litigant will receive a digital Summon to Enter Appearance, the Electronically filed case documents will also be digitally date stamped and it will be possible to enquire about case status online in the E-Filing platform among others,” he said
Judge Lenaola noted that whereas there might be initial challenges experienced such as power outage and poor internet connectivity, he called upon stakeholders to partner with them to surmount the challenges
“I invite you to this exciting journey of automation and together we shall remove geographical constraints and the burden of time-consuming journeys to physically submit pleadings and legal documents to courts,” the ICMS chair said.
Kiambu law Court, Lady Justice Abigail Mshila thanked said that with the rapid advancement of technology, it has become essential for the judiciary to adapt and leverage electronic filing systems to streamline processes and improve overall efficiency
“The traditional paper-based filing system has been time-consuming and cumbersome in nature, leading to delays in the delivery of justice. However, with the implementation of e-filing, litigants will benefit from faster and more convenient ways of filing pleadings and documents”, she said.
Judge Mshila said that Kiambu law courts will now reduce the need for physical document storage and reduce the burden on the court administrative staff as well as allow for efficient retrieval and sharing of information and facilitating a more seamless flow of information within the judicial system.
“The accessibility of electronic records allows for minimal risk of loss or damage to court documents, as electronic records will be securely stored and backed-up electronically”, she said.
She thanked the Chief Justice for announcing the establishment of a Sub registry at Thika Law Courts saying it will greatly help decongest the Kiambu High Court and reduce the Judges caseload and in turn speed up the delivery of justice.
Judge Mshila called upon Kiambu residents to embrace the potential that the e-filing platform offers by harnessing its power to promote transparency, accessibility, and efficiency within the legal system.
“Together, we can navigate this new era of technology in Kiambu Law Courts, while ensuring that it becomes a force for good in advancing the cause of justice, and ultimately serving the best interests of the people of Kiambu,” the Lady justice Mshila said.
Kiambu County is the home of the High Court of Kenya at Kiambu Law Courts and the Environment and Land Court at Thika. The Presiding Judge at the Kiambu High Court exercises Supervisory jurisdiction as provided under Section 6(a) of the Judicial Service Act over eight (8) law court stations being Kiambu, Thika, Githunguri, Kahawa, Ruiru, Gatundu, Kikuyu and Limuru Law Courts.
By Wangari Ndirangu