CJN commissions digital courtroom for Federal High Court, urges all courts to cue in for effective Justice delivery

TECHDIGEST – The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Thursday in Abuja commissioned a digital courtroom for the federal high court as part of concerted effort s to institutionalize technology driven judiciary.

The digital courtroom is one of the nine pilot projects initiated by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to move Court from paper based to electronic based judiciary and standardization of court room infrastructure nationwide by integrating technology into court processes and procedures.

Represented by the Chairman Judiciary Information Technology Committee of the NJC and Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah, the CJN urged all high courts, state and federal to employ the use of digital technologies for efficient and effective Judicial system.

The commissioning of the digital courtroom is part of the week long activities marking the Federal High Court’s 2021/2022 legal year.

The digital courtroom, he further said, is one of the the nine courtrooms of the federal courts retrofitted by the NJC, across the nation, serving as an example to be emulated by the states and indeed the federal courts for quick Justice delivery.

The CJN, explained that the idea to digitise the Nigeria justice system preceeds the Covid-19 era and enjoined all lawyers to acquire the legal maila, @nigerianbar.ng, adding that the courts should mandate it as necessary for e-filing and e-service of court processes.

Speaking to newsmen after the commissioning of the retrofitted courtroom, the Executive Secretary of the NJC, Malam Ahmed Gambo Saleh said the Council has developed an effective case information system as a means of communication between the courts and lawyers in the country.

According to the NJC scribe, the retrofitted courtroom is equipped with power back up system, designed with bespoke sound absorption accaustic panel to eliminate all types of noise entering the courtroom.

Other features of the digital courtroom are, professional audio and.video recording software solution that record from any type of source and enables full integration with audio system and court intranet.

He said the digital courtroom also captures all activities in the court room with capacity for play back and direct reference to be recording by court officers while it is protected by word class firewalls and security system to avoid unwarranted access, among others.

The NJC scribe said the Council is determined to do its best within the limit of its resources, adding that, “About now, nine courts have been retrofitted and we intend to extend it to all the courts in the country, when the resources are available”.

In his speech, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho reiterated the resolve of the court in enhancing effective administration of justice, welfare of Judges and staff of the court.

He said several practice directions were issued to ensure seamless and robust administration of justice in the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2020/2021 legal year, he said a total of 8, 309 cases were filed and there were 40, 822 civil cases, 30,197 criminal cases, 35, 563 motions and 20, 258 fundamental rights enforcement applications pending at the end of the legal year

“The total number of cases disposed of during that year was 6, 915 cases, with a total of 128, 234 pending at the end of the legal year”, he said.

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