Court Files Get Tech Upgrade in Kenya

Court Files Get Tech Upgrade in Kenya

From The Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Visitors to the magistrate’s court in the town of Eldoret in Kenya’s Rift Valley province are now greeted by a large computer screen listing all the cases scheduled to be heard that day.

The new technology is part of a wider project to computerize all court records in the towns of Eldoret and nearby Kapsabet.

The project started late last year, and details of more than 15,000 cases have logged in the Eldoret court’s computer system so far. The cases include criminal and traffic offenses and civil proceedings. For each one, a record of proceedings, hearing dates, legal submissions, and the current status of the case is filed.

Users and court staff say the system has led to greater efficiency. Cases are prone to long delays when files and other crucial information get lost. Digital storage drastically reduces the amount of documentation that goes astray, and protects data against fire and flooding.

Local resident Patrick Kibet currently has a land case before the court in Eldoret. He alleges that his farm was unlawfully seized and then registered under someone else’s title.

Almost six months ago, the court lost Kibet’s case file. He thought this would mean that the proceedings would be cut short and he would never win his case. But computerization helped staff track down the missing information.

“I was always told that [the file] had been misplaced,” Kibet told IWPR. “But after the new system was introduced, the file was easily traced.”

Since the files were found this March, Kibet has received frequent updates on the progress of his case by text messages to his mobile phone – another benefit of the new system.

Read more at ipwr.net