The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
OVER 6 000 lawyers, trade unionists and other stakeholders have been registered to use the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) ahead of the digitisation of the Labour Court and the Administrative Court on February 1.
This is part of the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) drive to make courts paperless.
IECMS, which is web-based, automates and tracks all aspects of a case life cycle, from initial filing through disposition, appeal and judgement.
Virtual and physical training sessions started last week and the process is ongoing.
JSC head of corporate services Mr Daniel Nemukuyu told The Sunday Mail that the response from participants was overwhelming.
“So far, 6 250 court users have since registered for IECMS. Registration is ongoing. More people are expected to register.
“The mobile registration exercise done during the JSC secretary’s tour of Manicaland, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Midlands saw the registration of many lawyers, labour officers, NEC members, trade unionists and other stakeholders.
“Since everyone is a potential court user, all people should simply register. Those who wish to register can still do so after February 1,” he said.
Registrants are able to check progress on court cases online, file documents electronically, access judgements, do e-payment of fees and be able to conduct virtual hearings.
“What one requires is a desktop, laptop computer or a smartphone connected to the internet with a valid e-mail address to lodge legal documents.
“Justice is a need which has been scarce to some people, and technology is seen as the potential facilitator of access to justice through its effectiveness and efficiency,” he said.
New rules that cover digitisation of the two courts, he added, have already been gazetted. To ensure smooth running of the system, the JSC has put in place a power backup plan to avoid electricity outages.
“We are also in the process of procuring more generators.
“We are also replacing old ones with a view to ensure uninterrupted court sessions as we move into the second phase of IECMS,” said Mr Nemukuyu.
JSC also plans to install solar systems at courts countrywide.
Progressive Commercial Trades and Allied Workers Union general secretary Mr Tawanda Mupeti, who benefited from the training, said digitisation of courts will cut transport costs and curb corruption.
“Technology has cut costs and improved effectiveness by reducing physical contact, which was a recipe for corruption,” said Mr Mupeti.
Medical Professionals and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mrs Tecla Barangwe, who is another beneficiary of the training, applauded Government for going paperless.
“We used to have issues whereby court papers disappear. This meant justice was being crippled by people with agendas,” she said.
During the first phase, launched last year, JSC introduced the IECMS, which digitised the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Commercial Court.
The Commercial Court became the country’s first paperless court after its commissioning in May last year.