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Judiciary’s digital case tracking system rollout delayed by two months

Judiciary Officials led by the Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana appearing before PAC.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  The Judiciary has extended the roll-out date for the much anticipated digital case tracking system. It is now set to begin in May, a two months’ delay from the initial dates.

The Judiciary Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana today told Parliament that the nine billion Shillings system also known as the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECMIS), is expected to help quicken filing of cases, track them throughout the trial and provide progress updates to relevant players. 

The new system is also expected to reduce contact between the litigating public and court staff, a move that is expected to curb corruption. Currently, the Judiciary is using the Court Case Administration System which has been criticized for being prone to corruption and delaying justice.

Bigirimana said that while the new digital system had been planned to start in March, this will be piloted in May 2021 attributing the delay to an element in the agreement that he did not divulge. The service provider of the system is Synergy International Systems Incorporated with whom Judiciary signed an agreement.

Bigirimana was appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee- PAC to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2018/2019. 

The digital case system was first communicated by the Judiciary in September 2019. It is planned to provide a portal where one logs-in and registers his or her case file. It will also have security safeguards that allow someone access to only information that they are entitled to and also deter anyone from corrupting the data.

“It is like having a website, you go into the system and file, of course, the system will have an address and it will be known to everybody so that you can enter and access it and file. Even when you have got a complaint, there is room for that,” Bigirimana then said.

Sarah Langa, the Judiciary Chief Registrar said that the digital case tracking system will be piloted in 18 courts including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, all High Court Divisions and select Magistrate Courts, which include Buganda Road, Nakawa, Jinja, Masaka, Wakiso and Mengo. 

Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the PAC Chairperson said that having a digital case tracking system in the Judiciary is something that parliament has pushed in the past years.

Fredrick Angura, the Tororo South MP was optimistic that the new system would solve the issue of case backlog in courts. He however tasked the Judiciary officials to avail the committee with details of the oldest cases in different courts and reasons why these had taken long.

According to Sarah Langa, the oldest case was recorded in 1994 at Mengo Court. She however could not provide details of the case and Nandala directed the Judiciary to provide information on the oldest cases by Thursday this week.

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