Ministry of Justice empowers judiciary systems

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice has implemented a number of innovative technology solutions to help improve processes and create transparency in the Kingdom’s judicial system

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Ministry of Justice empowers judiciary systems The Ministry of Justice has a number of different projects to support the development of smart services, says AlOthman. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  November 25, 2015

AlOthman explained: “We use it in the remote litigation trail, we have this technology inside the jails. In [just] one jail in Riyadh, we have several thousand prisoners, those prisoners, 200 of them at least, on a daily basis, have to make the trip to court and back. Therefore we asked the Ministry of Interior to give us within each jail, a specific room that has been equipped with a screen, camera, fingerprint reader and IP phone, and we use it to join a session in the court. The prisoner is able go into the room on their own, without being hand-cuffed, verify their fingerprint, and join the court session.”

The solution allows prisoners to give their testimony to judges remotely, which not only saves on transport, but also preserves the dignity of prisoners who do not have to appear in court. The prisoner can freely give testimony, and the fingerprint scanner is used again at the end of the session, to show he agreed on testimony given. The solution is now in use in a number of jails in the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Justice has also taken steps to integrate its systems with a range of other entities in Saudi Arabia, in order to develop new services and solutions, AlOthman said. The Ministry is connected to the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Health, the Central Bank, and municipalities across the Kingdom. This has enabled new capabilities to improve efficiency in many processes.

“We are trying to empower the judge — sometimes they need to freeze a criminal’s account, and to stop them from escaping from the country, so we empower them with one click, to freeze and unfreeze a bank account. In the traditional system, they write a letter after the judge has issued a position, and send it through the post office, to the Central Bank, then on to the individual bank. It takes time, which can let criminals get the money and go,” he said.

“We are trying to reach a point to be integrated with the Ministry of Interior, to let the management of jails to get a permission to release someone who has paid his dues, at any time, no matter the business hours,” AlOthman added.

The ultimate goal for the IT team at the Ministry of Justice is to improve processes and to empower its users.

A good example of this is its solution to generate legal documents and records. The system improves on some basic text editors, originally introduced in 2003, which now offers 2,732 legally reviewed texts which allows notaries to drag and drop the texts to create legally approved documents. The solution has reduced the amount of time it takes to create documents by 82%.

“We try to empower the judge with whatever tools he needs, we empower them from a technology perspective, we will give them even more tools to make their work easier and time effective,” AlOthman concluded.

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