Promoting openness and accessibility of courtsAug 18, 2015
August 18, 2015 - a press-tour of the courts introducing "E-SUD" electronic case management system was conducted in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as at Zangiata and Mirzo-Ulugbek interdistrict civil courts. The “E-SUD” electronic case management system allows the citizens to file cases to courts electronically, while enabling receipt of case related information, including court’s determinations and decisions quickly and in the accessible form. The press-tour was organized within the framework of the joint project of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) "Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan".
The reforms of the justice system and the openness and accessibility of civil courts are the key components of the national concept of further strengthening of the democratic reforms and development of civil society in the country announced in 2010 by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov. Additional regulatory acts, particularly the Presidential Decree "On measures on core improvement of social protection of judicial staff" dated August 2, 2012, the Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On measures on implementation of modern information-communication technologies into courts" dated December 10, 2012, as well as the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the openness of the government authorities and administration" from 2014 are all aimed to further improve the performance of courts.
Moreover, the legislative base for further scale-up and use of the modern ICT in courts has also been elaborated by the recently passed Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the introduction of amendments and additions, as well as adjudgement of the expired certain legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan", according to which starting from 2016 the applications and petitions to courts can be submitted electronically via information system.
Therefore, today, it is crucial to set up a mechanism increasing transparency and accessibility of information about the courts, enhancing court responsiveness to citizen feedback, improving accessibility of justice for all layers of population, guaranteeing execution of court decisions, etc., through introduction of electronic justice systems. The introduction of e-justice system makes it possible to reduce time necessary for submission of the case file, its review and desposition, thus improving the efficiency of court services delivered to the citizens and the society in general.
There already have been positive results from piloting of the “E-SUD” electornic case management system launched in 2013 by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the support of UNDP. "The present system was piloted at the Zangiata inter-district civil court ", - says the national coordinator of the joint project "Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan" Kholmumin Yodgorov. "In 2014, more than 20 000 applications on writ proceedings were processed by Zangiata inter-district civil court out of 23 000 electronic applications received in total, thus recovering the debt in total amount of more than 772 941.4 thousand sums". In general, during two years of functioning of the system, the Zangiata inter-district civil court has received more than 40 thousand electronic applications from citizens and legal entities through the "E-SUD" e-justice system”.
At the moment, the system is being scaled-up within the framework of the Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan project. The experts of the project have improved the system in terms of first instance civil cases, particularly developed the additional functions on the consideration of cases of adversary, appeal and special proceedings, as well as enabled the option to formulate statistical reports. At the moment, three inter-district courts of Tashkent city on civil cases, i.e. courts of Shayhontohur, Mirzo-Ulugbek and Yakkasaray districts are ready to launch the system - the local area networks are set up and necessary equipment is provided. Notably, the terms of reference of the module of “E-SUD” for the appellate courts has passed the assessment of experts of the Ministry of Information and Communications, and was recommended for further development. The project is also planning to develop additional modules of “E-SUD” for the courts of cassation and supervisory instances in the nearest future.
Within the framework of the press-tour more than 30 representatives of mass media in Uzbekistan have visited the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and had an opportunity to see the workflow of “E-SUD” e-justice system in Zangiata and Mirzo-Ulugbek inter-district civil courts. Moreover, there was a master class conducted as part of the press-tour on the importance of coverage of judicial and legal reforms in mass media, particularly the e-justice system.
It is important to mention that “E-SUD” electronic case management system is a national system developed solely by local experts: it is a unique and one of a kind e-justice system in the CIS region, thus exemplifying the vast potential and development perspectives of the ICT in Uzbekistan.