Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
BULAWAYO legal practitioners have welcomed the move by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to adopt technology and digitise its operations for improved service delivery.
Speaking at the opening of the 2022 Legal Year at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday, Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza said law firms were not spared by the effects of Covid-19.
She said last year courts were not fully functional because of Covid-19 disruptions and digitising the system will help mitigate the effects.
Justice Gwaunza said the only way out was through technological advancements within the JSC, which has a backlog of 17 070 cases from all courts in the country.
“Technology is now inevitable in our era and is emblematic of our future. Cloud computing, information and processing power are just but some of the benefits that can be reaped from this endeavour.
The use of technology allows reliance on innovative ICT systems like virtual hearings, e-filing, electronic payments and electronic case management, to name but a few,” said Justice Gwaunza.
“The added advantage is that as technology continues to develop and improve, the costs for accessing justice will depreciate and by extension, this will aid the realisation of the rule of law.
In this regard, the judiciary ought to be at the forefront of this evolution and lead the embrace of the digital era in performing its role as the vanguard of the rule of law and the last line of defence in the justice system.”
Bulawayo chief public prosecutor Mrs Tariro Takuva said the move could help prosecutors deal with the increasing backlog of cases that should be attended to.
“We need to embrace technology as there is no way we are going to dispense meaningful justice in this day and age if we are not technologically advanced.
As the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) we have to jump into the same bus so that we are trading on the same lane,” said Mrs Takuva.
“That way we will assist in reducing the backlog , especially the one created by the pandemic, hence we have to reinvest ourselves and come up with solutions that will make the wheels of justice continue (to spin).”
Coghlan and Welsh senior partner Mr Promise Ncube said although Covid-19 had also affected business, the pandemic had compelled legal practitioners to come up with creative ways to continue serving justice.
“Covid-19 has challenged us to come up with more creative ways to run our business, and as members of the legal profession, we welcome the initiatives.
It is commendable to see that JSC is thinking ahead to ensure we continue with the administration of justice,” said Mr Ncube.