The world may not return to its old days;

the smart person is the person who adapts

to the changing world!

– Mehmet Murat ildan

 

Ever since social distancing has become the norm, civil society is finding a way to adapt. Stores are marking distances, and people are working from home. But what about the justice system? Courts require lawyers, judges, witnesses to be involved, but can this be done under a pandemic?

The solution to this are E-Courts, and E-Hearings. With this method, lawyers can argue from their homes through Skype, witnesses can testify, and judges can give judgements through email. All documents can be uploaded on online portals, and notifications can come through texts. These methods are in Pakistan already, with cases like The State vs Sher Afzal (2016), where witnesses join through video link. COVID has increased the need for this, and the courts are looking into infrastructure to support this, and organisations like SECP are already moving onto E-Hearings. Other countries such as the UK, Korea, India, Turkey, UAE, Bangladesh, etc., have developed systems for E-Courts that Pakistan can follow.

The challenges with this are plenty: unstable connections, technological illiteracy, bar lobbies, among others. But the government can work to overcome these, as the environmental, financial, and logistical benefits are many, with accountability and transparency finally reaching the judicial system.