$2 million case management system to improve court efficiency

$2 million case management system to improve court efficiency
Chief Justice Brian Moree. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of National Security yesterday signed a $2 million contract with the Anchor Group for the implementation of an integrated case management system that is expected to promote greater efficiency within the Supreme Court.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames noted that the project falls under the $20 million Citizen Security and Justice Programme funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Dames also noted that legal professionals and citizens have continued to lament over the challenges plaguing the court system. Full implementation of the system is expected to take 12 months.

“The absence of modern information systems and technology in the judiciary have hindered the timely delivery of justice, which has contributed to a growing number of backlogged cases awaiting trial and a diminishing number of successful convictions. Additionally, the limited capacity of our justice system has contributed to increased instances of crime and violence as many offenders, while awaiting court proceedings, commit additional crimes,” said Dames.

Attorney General Carl Bethel described the contract signing as a “red-letter day”. He noted that the project will introduce an electronic filings feature, an e-notifications and messaging function, an integrated digital recording and transcription software and a feature that will help to avoid court scheduling conflicts and overlaps.

Chief Justice Brian Moree noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the backlog of cases both on the criminal and non-criminal side.

“We are working our way through those cases and applications which were displaced since March of this year. We are focused on trying to catch up in respect to those cases that were taken out of the system when certain operations were suspended. It has caused us some concern with regard to the backlog, but we are working our way through it. We also have to manage our calendar going forward to make sure we don’t compound these backlogs. I feel very confident that we will be able, on the non-criminal side, to catch up with cases displaced since March. I would say at this point and time, based on the information available to me, that we have probably caught up on about 80 percent of that particular inventory of cases,” said Moree.