|14 October, 2017

UAE courts take smart leap with e-trials and video conferencing

Ministry of Justice launched four initiatives to be implemented in next four years

Image is for illustrative purposes only. A man walks past the Dubai Courts.

Image is for illustrative purposes only. A man walks past the Dubai Courts.

REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh
By 2021, the UAE judicial system will see a smart leap as it plans to provide electronic trials without courtrooms; video-conferencing during court hearings; and real-time translations in court proceedings via a screen.

The Ministry of Justice launched four initiatives to be implemented in the next four years to ensure fair and swifter trials while ensuring easy access to justice.

By 2021, there will be an online dispute resolution mechanism, a 100 per cent smart trial with no courtroom; video conferencing in court hearings; a unified translation centre that will connect translators to secretaries of court and judges via a computer screen; and mediation and conciliation services in criminal justice.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, said innovation and technology were the main pillars of these initiatives to parallel the country's rapid growth and move towards its smart transformation.

He noted that the initiatives aim to protect the country's cultural diversity, ensuring justice to all in a record time without impacting the integrity of law and achieving happiness for the community.

"Justice is no longer just issuing verdicts, but also searching for mediation and reconciliation. Its foundation doesn't lie on the size of its facilities and judiciary procedures; it rather depends on its efficiency and accessibility to the public," said Al Badi. "Judges won't be evaluated on their impartiality only, but also their openness to other cultures and scientific developments," he added.

Through these initiatives - which are part of the National Agenda for UAE Vision 2021 - the UAE looks at achieving the 10th rank on the Judicial System Efficiency Index of the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report and 25th rank in the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index, in the next four years.

The UAE currently ranks 25th internationally for the efficiency of its judicial system and 33rd on the Rule of Law Index.

Al Badi added that the initiatives were launched after conducting international field visits and signing partnerships with global firms including The Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law.

The ministry's policy is based on using technology to facilitate access to justice, training judicial authorities based on new performance criteria and spreading legal culture and judicial terms to the public and partners.

Ensuring fairness

It stands to reason why the judiciary is termed as the third estate. Its power to ensure an equitable society promotes happiness and fairness. The UAE's latest move to empower its judicial system through new age technology and means will make it smarter and faster. Justice will not be delayed, or denied, rather expedited and pursued in all fairness. The move will surely bump up the happiness quotient of our society by several notches.

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