Editorials

Retain technology in courts

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Summary

  • The Kenyan courts last March scaled down business in the wake of confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in the country.
  • Then Chief Justice David Maraga later launched e-filing and virtual hearings to try to speed up hearings as well as help curb the spread of Covid-19.
  • But the slow pace of hearing cases remotely still occasioned a backlog that will take judges and magistrates a long time to clear.

The Kenyan courts last March scaled down business in the wake of confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in the country.

Then Chief Justice David Maraga later launched e-filing and virtual hearings to try to speed up hearings as well as help curb the spread of Covid-19.

But the slow pace of hearing cases remotely still occasioned a backlog that will take judges and magistrates a long time to clear.

It is therefore understandable that the Judiciary is planning to resume physical court sessions.

Indeed some judges and magistrates have resumed open court sessions after they were given guidelines by the Ministry of Health and the National Council for the Administration of Justice.

But even as physical sessions resume, Judiciary officials and lawyers should embrace the use of technology more.

The backlog caused by online court proceedings was largely down to reluctance to embrace technology by some officials.

In many ways, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for the Judiciary.

It has been struggling with digitiasation as parts of reforms to improve the administration of justice. The shift to online sessions increased the tempo of reforms.