Chief Justice David Maraga on Wednesday officially launched e-filing which will see Nairobi courts go digital.
Under the new electronic system, all lawyers, police, DPP and members of the public are required to register themselves through a portal to log into the Judiciary system.
Besides filing, the system will also allow litigants to assess costs, pay and serve court papers in defendants electronically.
Although the system has been in use for a while, it has faced many hiccups but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Judiciary to fully embrace it.
Through the e-filing system, law firms, lawyers, prosecutors and litigants will file cases from the comfort of their offices or homes as court users need not visit the court premises or banking halls.
The portal is on https://efiling.court.go.ke.
Subsequently, one has to submit the files to the registry online for the matter to be filed and placed before a judge for hearing.
During the launch, the Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said the journey to digitise the court faced challenges including resistance from within and without and thin resources among others.
Meanwhile, Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure the Judiciary is properly funded.
He further requested that a Bill be put in place to develop a proper framework for e-filing.
Havi said the Bill will shield the digital courts from abuse.”Judges have been subject of abuse through social media and soon doctored judgments might appear in social media,” he said.
Speaking during the launch of e-filing, Havi said all attempts in the past have failed, but Covid-19 has pushed stakeholders to embrace digitisation of courts.
So far, 170 advocates have filed their cases via the e-filing portal.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji lauded the digitisation of the court system, saying it will lead to reduced corruption.
“Benefits of e-filing will lead to reduced corruption and enhance transparency,” he said.
His office will now file charge sheets and disclose witness statements via e-filing.
Haji said there’s a need for people to adapt quickly to digital change.
He urged all stakeholders to take collective responsibility to ensure e-filing works.
Maraga, who has come under scathing online and offline attacks from the executive, hinted that he was unlikely to take early retirement.
Since he led Supreme Court judges in nullifying President Kenyatta re-election in 2017, the top judge and the third arm of government have been targets of the executive.
The executive employed dirty tricks to frustrate the judiciary, including budget cuts, ignoring court orders, thinly veiled attacks in political rallies and press conference, online campaigns against Justice Maraga and the Judiciary among others.
But the CJ on Wednesday said he is still around because “there is so much that needs to be done”.
“I noticed when the president of LSK spoke it was like he was bidding me goodbye but I am still here,” he said.