Courts go hi-tech

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Justice is exploring ways to set up more virtual courts to ensure the timely delivery of justice while upholding the safety of litigants, lawyers, judges, and all other judicial and law enforcement officials.

As the first step, the Ministry in collaboration with Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) launched a pilot project on Wednesday (20), conducting the country’s first-ever virtual court session via video conferencing at No. 9 Magistrate Court at the Hulftsdorp Court Complex.

Minister of Justice, Human Rights, and Legal Reforms Nimal Siripala de Silva said that after evaluating the success of the pilot project, the Ministry would seek the possibilities of expanding it to other court proceedings gradually.

Speaking to The Morning, de Silva noted that as an initial step, the court proceedings would be limited only to granting bail as well as to set new dates for remand prisoners.

“We have taken this step together with SLT to prevent the threat of spreading Covid-19 among remand prisoners as most of these cases are regarding either bail or setting new dates. With the introduction of virtual courts, the need of travelling from prison to court has been stopped, but the lawyers, litigants, and judges are still hearing the cases while they can talk and see each other virtually,” the Minister said.

According to him, after receiving approval from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the virtual court system would be continued.

– Maheesha Mudugamuwa