298 courts to go high-tech this year

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

M“By 2017, eCourts will be de­ployed in 10 cities, in­clud­ing Cebu City, or a to­tal of 298 courts. As of Au­gust 2017, eCourts have been de­ployed to 274 courts, while the re­main­ing 24 courts are un­der­go­ing train­ing” Sereno said dur­ing the Ulat sa Hudikatura in Cebu on Thur sday.

The Chief Jus­tice added that out of the 274 eCourts, 159 are con­duct­ing au­to­mated hear­ings, where courts is­sue their or­ders within min­utes af­ter their hear­ings, cut­ting trial time by at least a month be­cause the or­ders need not go through snail mail to reach the lawyers and lit­i­gants.

“In other words, when you be­gin your ca­reers as lawyers, you can lit­i­gate your cases by just look­ing at your smart­phones and lap­tops. It will be jus­tice at the tip of your fin­gers,” she noted.

The eCourt sys­tem was pi­lot-tested last 2013 in Que­zon City.

The E-courts, as a case man­age­ment sys­tem, record all in­ci­dents in an in­for­ma­tion sys­tem that shows the age of each case and high­lights pend­ing in­ci­dents that re­quire ac­tion.

It also no­ti­fies judges of de­liv­er­ables and dead­lines, and pro­vides them with tem­plates for or­ders and de­ci­sions to fast­track their or­ders im­me­di­ately af­ter the hear­ing, tar­get aged cases, and ul­ti­mately re­duce case back l ogs.

The E-courts which not only help in the speedy res­o­lu­tion of cases but also make the courts less prone to cor­rup­tion since it pro­vides for ran­dom elec­tronic sam­pling and raf­fling of cases, the con­tin­u­ous trial sys­tem and the use of ju­di­cial af­fi­davits in lieu of tak­ing of di­rect tes­ti­mony of wit­nesses.

Un­der this set-up, wit­nesses need not go to the court for their tes­ti­mony since they just ex­e­cute af­fi­davits though they will have to be present dur­ing the cros­sex­am­i­na­tion by de­fense lawyers.

“Our I.T. Mas­ter Plan, the En­ter­prise In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems Plan or EISP is the Ju­di­ciary’s IT Mas­ter Plan, will also pave the way for a mod­ern, ef­fi­cient and trans­par­ent court sys­tem. Its key com­po­nent, the eCourts sys­tem, is a path to a fu­ture when lawyers can file plead­ings by up­load­ing them on­line while in their of­fices; when lit­i­gants can check the sta­tus of their cases and view their on­line case records through their com­put­ers or smart­phones; when elec­tronic no­tices to par­ties are sent via email or SMS,” the Chief Jus­tice said

“It is a fu­ture when halls of jus­tice are not lit­tered with piles of pa­pers as all court doc­u­ments are dig­i­tized; when judges au­to­mat­i­cally is­sue al­most all court or­ders im­me­di­ately af­ter hear­ings us­ing tem­plates in an app; when judges ac­cess all their records and man­age their court dock­ets with the click of a mouse,” she noted.

Mean­while, Sereno said the En­hanced Jus­tice on Wheels or EJOW suc­cess­fully im­proved ac­cess to jus­tice through its mo­bile court hear­ings since its launch in 2009.

“To fur­ther the reach of ac­cess to jus­tice, es­pe­cially to the un­der­served parts of the coun­try, the EJOW Pro­gram was launched to en­able make-shift court buses to reach far flung ar­eas. While it has al­ready fa­cil­i­tated the re­lease of 9,000+ pris­on­ers as of date, we ex­pect it to fur­ther touch the lives of many more Filipinos whose life still rests in un­cer­tainty in­side de­ten­tion cells/ pris­ons,” Sereno expl ai ned.

Sereno also re­ported the re­vised guide­lines for con­tin­u­ous trial sys­tem which will take ef­fect na­tion­wide on Sept. 1 will al­low us to con­duct tri­als which are set one day apart, un­in­ter­rupted by dila­tory post­pone­ments

Sereno said re­forms are be­ing in­sti­tuted to de­clog cases in courts across the coun­try.

“As much as we can also, re­forms are spread out to dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try, in our goal of in­creas­ing ac­cess to jus­tice. You will see that re­forms are be­ing im­ple­mented in re­gions out­side the cap­i­tal, where peo­ple of­ten do not have suf­fi­cient ac­cess to lawyers and courts or even if they have ac­cess to courts, these courts do not have the com­plete re­sources to do their jobs,” said Sereno .

Sereno said that among these is the de­ploy­ment of 635 court de­con­ges­tion of­fi­cers to help de­con­gest all courts across the coun­try.

“The de­ploy­ment of de­con­ges­tion of­fi­cers is an ex­pan­sion of Hustisyeah, a one-time case de­con­ges­tion pro­gram par­tic­i­pated in by law stu­dents who as­sisted judges in le­gal re­search and for­mu­la­tion of case de­con­ges­tion plans. Since its in­cep­tion in 2013 to date, 62 per­cent or 32,060 out of 51,825 pri­or­ity cases tar­geted for dis­po­si­tion have been re­moved from the dock­ets. Hustisyeah is another clear ex­am­ple of the youth’s po­ten­tial in shap­ing the di­rec­tion of our coun­try,” the Chief Jus­tice said.

(SunS­tar Photo/Am­per Cam­paña)

Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Ma. Lour­des Sereno an­nounces the de­ploy­ment of eCourts na­tion­wide in a speech in Cebu City.

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