The pandemic highlighted the country’s need for digital transformation, especially in key areas such as justice, the deputy minister for research, innovation and digital policy Kyriakos Kokkinos said on Friday at the official launch of the e-justice project.
Speaking at the presentation of the project by the contractor company IBM, Kokkinos noted the importance of digital transformation for a strong economy as well as the efficient administration of justice for the smooth operation of the state.
“The pandemic has clearly demonstrated our inability as a state and as a society to respond to adverse conditions” Kokkinos said, adding that Covid-19 “had highlighted even more the need for immediate action to implement e-government projects, especially in key areas such as justice”.
For that reason, after Covid-19, the deputy ministry “decided to draw up an interim e-justice plan” Kokkinos said.
This plan includes the ‘mini’ e-justice system, which will launch immediately and will be completed in the span of about three years. A source, working closely with the project, told the Cyprus Mail that the initial innovation is that rulings can from now on, be sent electronically instead of physically submitting them to the registrar.
The deputy minister said the country has already delayed the implementation of new technologies in justice.
This was confirmed in the EU Rule of Law Reports, released at the end of September, which said the country’s justice system has serious efficiency challenged and “a nearly complete lack of digitalisation” with no electronic information on case progress and no electronic case management system.
E-justice is a vital part of the restructuring and modernisation of justice, added the deputy minister, which will improve the efficiency, productivity and administration of the system.
In her speech, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis said that the main aim of the system is the digitalisation of court cases and the computerisation of the courts’ operations to enable the provision of online services to everyone dealing with the court including judges, the legal service, police, lawyers, businesses and citizens.
“The benefits of such a system are manifold” Yiolitis said. According to the minister, the digitalisation of the justice system will save its users time and money, it will offer greater security of the digitised records as well as payment security, easier search in various documents and it will save labour hours that will be able to be used in alternative ways.
“In addition to the benefits that will arise from the system itself, there will also be a benefit from the review and simplification of various court procedures” Yiolitis added.
Finally, she explained that Friday’s meeting was not the end of the road.
“There is still a lot of work to be done by both the involved government services and the contractor company to reach the desired result” Yiolitis said.
The presentation of the e-justice project took place at the lecture room of the Supreme Court at 12pm. It was also attended by the Attorney General and the Pancyprian Bar Association.