The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, on Monday, said the Judiciary would embark on a full-scale digital revolution that would guarantee electronic filing of court processes and virtual delivery of judgments.
The CJN, who spoke at the opening ceremony of a national workshop for judiciary workers in the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, department, said the Judiciary had in 2012, designed a pragmatic policy on ICT that is currently being implemented in various jurisdictions within the country.
While imploring Judges across the federation to deploy ICT to tackle increasing caseload in their dockets, stressing that “the advantage of ICT is that it is less time consuming and will fast track the administration of Justice in Nigeria”.
He described the theme of this year’s workshop, ‘Information Technology as a catalyst for effective Justice Administration in the 21% Century’, as apt and timely, noting that ICT has “introduced some radical changes in the legal profession”.
He said: “The theme for this year’s workshop is apt and timely as it could not have come at a better time. It is indeed in tune with the reform initiatives currently being implemented in line with global best practices with a view to making our justice system more efficient.
“The rapid development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has paved the way ahead to further improve judicial administration.
“ICT has become an indispensable means of court management, especially when taking into consideration the ever-increasing caseload within the courts.
“Internet and computer programs possess a great potential for assisting in problem-solving not only within our courts but also when it comes to the creation of an information network or connectivity between the courts.
“Increased awareness and knowledge at all levels of the Judiciary on the importance of ICT are paramount; especially in the era of COVID 19 which has changed the way a lot of things are done in our world today.
“I am glad that the National Judicial Institute has taken proactive steps in this direction by re-emphasizing the need and importance of ICT in the Administration of Justice and making it an essential part of all its programmes.
“I have no doubt that the advantage of using ICT is less time-consuming and will fast track the administration of Justice in Nigeria.
“My Lords, Distinguished participants, I make bold to say that the Judiciary cannot resist the wind of change.
“Like every aspect of modern life, Information and Communication Technology has introduced some radical changes in the legal profession.
“You may wish to recall that the Judiciary in 2012 designed a pragmatic policy on ICT, which is being implemented in various jurisdictions within the country.
“My Lords, Distinguished Participants, as we are all aware, the policy document on Information Technology was meant to be implemented in the nation’s judiciary.
“With a view to ensuring that ICT is used to effectively support the administration of justice in the nation’s judiciary; with the vision to ensure a justice system that is simple, fast, efficient, and effective.
“We look forward to new frontiers of this digital revolution, in our courts where the entire Court system will be fully automated. As this process will be full-scale e-filing of Court processes, electronic recording of proceedings and e-judgments; e-rulings and execution of judgments and rulings”, the CJN added.
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, NJI, Justice R. P. I. Bozimo, said the efficiency with which cases are discharged in Judiciaries around the world, established the need for the Judiciary in Nigeria to take proactive steps.
“It is in recognition of the changing world and the critical role which ICT plays in our world today that the Board under the able Chairmanship of the CJN and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute directed that this workshop be organised to enhance the capacity of Court Employees in your cadre who are critical to the ICT regime that our courts are implementing”, she added.