Electronic system helps High Court acquit cases Thirty-six will contest for the High Court positions while three will fight for the single vacancy at the Administrative Court bench, according to the Judicial Service Commission’s list published yesterday.

Patrick Chitumba 

Midlands Bureau Chief 

THE High Court including the Sheriff of the High Court are now included in the third phase of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) at the beginning of the month.

The first phase of IECMS was launched on May 1 last year, covering the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and the Commercial Court Division of the High Court.

On February 1 this year, IECMS’s second phase was launched in the Labour Court and the Administrative Court while the third phase completes the automation of the country’s superior courts. 

The IECMS system is a web-based case management system that automates and tracks all aspects of a case life cycle, from initial filing through disposition and appeal.

The system allows for information sharing between systems from all stakeholders in the judiciary.

The development is part of the digital revolution in the judiciary, police services, prisons, and correctional services, which will see the required information, documents, and dockets moving through the judicial system without delays.

It forms part of the efforts to attain the digital economy as enunciated in the National Development Strategy. 

With the IECMS, magistrates, and judges are now able to lead proceedings from their chambers and lawyers have an option to attend court physically or do it from their offices. 

In terms of filing cases or submitting documents, users of the IECMS are able to save these online for easy access. 

Citing Masvingo High Court which mainly handles matters filed from Chiredzi, Triangle, Zaka, Bikita, Zvishavane, and Shurugwi, JSC spokesperson Mr Daniel Nemukuyu said the system was going well.

“Five bail applications were set down at Masvingo High Court and were held virtually. One matter had connectivity challenges as legal practitioners for the applicant failed to connect from Zvishavane. They advised that there was a power challenge as electricity was on and off on that day,” he said.

“They eventually instructed a legal practitioner in Masvingo who was at the court to attend the session for them. All other bail applications were held without any challenge.”

Mr Nemukuyu said one motion matter was also set down and removed from the roll at the behest of the parties. 

“The report that Masvingo High Court failed to complete bail applications is therefore misleading. 

“The need to grapple with ICT and the knowledge of how to use such technology is now more important than ever to the judiciary as JSC strives to deliver service to the communities they serve,” he said. 

He said the implementation of the IECMS brings with it efficiency, expedited case disposition, and delivery of access to justice. 

“The system endeavours to prevent the loss and physical damage of documents in a case file and reduce case backlog. 

“The advantages that come with this system include a reduction in paperwork as a result of record keeping,” said Mr Nemukuyu.

Prominent Gweru lawyer Mr Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Legal Practice said IECMS is a unifying platform that will connect all institutions under the justice delivery system. 

“This is a highly transformational move as all courts will be paperless and fully automated. It is integrating the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Administrative Court, Magistrates Court, and the Sheriff of the High Court under the same system,” he said. 

In the future, the system will integrate with systems from organisations such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Attorney General’s Office, National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid Directorate, and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Court.

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