Experts call for Judiciaries to embrace Caribbean Technology to boost access to justice

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In the justice sector, inefficiencies and delays have a real impact on human lives. Technology built and implemented by Caribbean experts to address these issues is now allowing courts to dramatically reduce frustration levels and enhance the convenience and quality of services offered to court users.

Bevil Wooding, Executive Director of the Caribbean Agency for Justice Solutions (CAJS), shared this view to participants of the 5 th Justice and Technology Forum held on September 9 th in Nassau, The Bahamas.

“The deployment of innovative, Caribbean-developed technology has allowed courts in the region to virtualize hearings and automate critical court functions, and provide online access to key court services,” Wooding shared.

He cited the example of the successful implementation of the Curia Court Management suite developed by CAJS, at the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal.

“Staff, legal representatives and litigants at the Tribunal have all noted the dramatic reduction in the time it takes to process routine administrative procedures. They have also expressed greater levels of satisfaction with the level of service offered as a result of digitalizing key aspects of court proceedings such as electronic filing of documents, online scheduling of court matters and automatic notifications of changes to court calendars,” Wooding added.

President of the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal Demeritte-Francis shared that the process to modernize the Tribunal has been a richly rewarding and humbling experience.

“A key factor in the success of the technology upgrades at the Tribunal have to do with the support we have received from CAJS. Their understanding of the peculiarities and nuances of courts in the Caribbean have allowed us to collaborate closely not just on the technology, but on the processes, policies and change management that is so critical to true digital transformation,” Demeritte-Frances shared. She explained that the project was a multi-year effort, beginning in 2018, which involved dedicating staff to review administrative processes, implement performance standards, update policies and procedural rules. It also involved upgrading court infrastructure and training staff and end-users.

Since implementing the process improvements, the Tribunal reported increases in overall employee satisfaction as well as court user satisfaction. The Tribunal intends to continue surveying its internal and public user base to track satisfaction levels.

“We now have a framework to evaluate both where we were as an operation and what additional steps we needed to take to fully implement appropriate technology as well as an effective performance management system to support our essential mission to deliver justice.”

From: Bahamas Information Services

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