Launch of White Paper: Smart Courts: Roadmap for Digital Transformation of Justice in Africa

Posted on 5th March 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Strathmore Law School and Access Partnership, with the support of Microsoft, will be launching a white paper titled: “Smart Courts: Roadmap for Digital Transformation of Justice in Africa” on 7th March, 2019.

Globally, digital transformation is impacting all aspects of our societies and economies. Citizens and businesses of all sizes rely on information technologies to access and provide services. More fundamentally digital transformation is changing the nature of the relationship between public authorities and the people they serve, facilitating transparency, responsiveness, and accessibility.

But are legal systems keeping up with these changes? Constraints on them everywhere continue to grow. At the same time, citizens’ expectations for more efficient and responsive administration of the rule of law are increasing. How are courts and justice systems addressing these demands, and how does information technology help them face these challenges? How can technology enhance access to justice, and what can policy makers do to unlock the potential of digitisation in justice systems? These are some of the questions that the white paper tries to answer.

“This is an exciting time for Strathmore University as we see before us the pioneering of smart courts that will impact the citizenry of our country. Not only will this increase access to justice for all, but it will provide faster delivery through the use of technology. Smart courts will positively impact the delivery of and access to justice both locally and regionally,” said Dr. Luis Franceschi, Dean, Strathmore Law School.

In 2018, Strathmore Law School, together with Access Partnership, initiated the study to take a comprehensive look at the opportunities presented by digitisation in the justice sector, and the gaps that the region needs to address in order to embark on this journey. As part of the study, the team hosted a select group of judges and CIOs from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Court of Justice and the East Africa Court of Justice for study tours to the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates, in order to familiarise these judges with digital courtrooms and modern justice system applications. Through presentations given by CaseLines, the case management solutions provider, as well as discussions with all stakeholders, and site visits at the various international courts, the judges had a comprehensive view of the potential of smart courts in Africa. After the success of the international visits, a symposium on the digital transformation of court systems was held in Nairobi, Kenya, where judges, administrators, public officials, IT and policy experts from the COMESA region shared their experiences and mapped out the challenges that African courts face.

In January 2019, as part of this ongoing workstream, the COMESA Court of Justice signed an agreement with CaseLines to begin digitisation of their courtrooms and enable faster and more efficient access to justice across the COMESA region.

Microsoft has been sponsoring this initiative as it strives to achieve its mission of empowering every person and organization to achieve more, and to do so through digital transformation. “This technology will provide improved access to justice in a number of ways ranging from making it easier for litigants to participate in the court processes, to providing effective and increased productivity, and ensuring there is enhanced transparency,” said Christopher Akiwumi, Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa Director of Government Affairs. “The idea is for us to process the learnings of this year-long study, digest the challenges we are still facing, as well as the opportunities that lie before us, and take the first steps towards realizing those goals,’ Akiwumi added.

This roundtable discussion will be held at the Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) at Strathmore University.

Download the white paper here.

For further information or to RSVP, please contact:

Jade Makory
Tel: +254-705-286 313
Email: cmakory@strathmore.edu

About Strathmore University

Strathmore seeks to become a leading outcome-driven entrepreneurial research university by translating our excellence into a major contribution to culture, economic well-being and quality of life. Strathmore aims at providing all-round quality education in an atmosphere of freedom and responsibility excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, ethical and social development and service to the society. www.strathmore.edu

About Access Partnership

Access Partnership is the world’s leading public policy firm that provides market access for technology. The global team uniquely mixes policy and technical expertise to optimise outcomes for companies operating at the intersection of technology, data and connectivity. www.accesspartnership.com

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About CaseLines

CaseLines is the leading global provider of Evidence Management Software for national and local government and courts. CaseLines is used by prosecutors, lawyers, barristers and judges every day in civil and public law cases globally, including England & Wales, Kenya, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The platform holds over 300,000 cases, with over 100 million pages of evidence.

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