Reforms and Developments

The Judiciary, like any institution of government is dynamic and as such has continuously gone through changes in response to the needs of the changing times. From independence in 1966 to date, changes have occurred in the scope of court work, courts infrastructure and personnel. The courts have metaphosised from being governed by administrators, that is the High Commissioners to being separate and independent from the Executive arm of Government.

The Judiciary has also changed from domination by expatriate Judges to a Judiciary dominated by citizens. The Administration of Justice has been proactive in its efforts to improve service delivery as can be seen from reforms such as the Judicial Case Management (JCM) Court Annexed Mediation and Court Records Management System (CRMS). There is also the Small Claims Court Act, which proposes, among others the use of lay magistrates to operate in those courts. All the current and proposed reforms are aimed at improving service delivery, as well as fulfilling the mandate of the AOJ, that of delivering Justice expeditiously.

The Judicial Case Management

JCM is a system where the court and not other case participants controls the progress of cases. Under this system, the court takes the responsibility for the movement of cases from the time they are registered, ensuring that no case is left idle from initiation to completion.

Under JCM, each case coming before the court is assigned immediately, upon registration, to a judge who will be in charge of it throughout its life. JCM places justice and the completion of the case above purely technical rules and introduces the Judge as early as possible to see to it that this is so. With JCM, Judges, not lawyers or the parties control the pace of litigation and cases come before a Judge for trial much earlier. The other benefit is that, since lawyers know the identity of their Judge, they make realistic judgments about the likely outcome and thus pragmatically discuss settlement. Under JCM, accountability for cases is a powerful motivator for a Judge to handle a case and calendar efficiently, or else their backlog will grow out of proportion to that of their fellow Judges.

Court Records Managements System

Putting the Judiciary on the path of 21st century requires the mastery and use of modern technology. Court Records Management System ( known as the CRMS), as its name implies, is the technological tool for recording and keeping all files and other information safe for accurate and quick reference. CRMS computers are configured to be multifunctional; and regard to a case file, CRMS will reveal the parties in the case, the pleadings, the status and age of the file and all orders that have been made in the case.

CRMS is providing its worth as AOJ has started the reforms in the courts. Since CRMS is such a good tool for management in effecting control and direction, its installation throughout the courts is being quickened. With accurate statistics and information which can be obtained from the system, it is possible for AOJ to benchmark its performance with that of neighboring countries and where possible to take necessary action. Furthermore once fully developed, the system will allow courts to view information associated with individual cases, orders and other official documents and ultimately reduce or eliminate volumes of papers used in the courts.

Go to top