Economic courts: How to increase the efficiency and transparency of the proceedings?Jan 22, 2016
The Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan held a press conference to present to the general public the latest changes and new developments in the legislation, as well as the results of introduction of modern ICTs into the courts, specifically, the recently installed system of audio-visual recording of court proceedings. The particular system has been installed in 2015 on a pilot basis at the Supreme Economic Court, Tashkent city and regional economic courts, with the support 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 project is being implemented by UNDP within its effort to promote effective governance.
The press conference was attended by the representatives of mass media, business community, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UNDP and the Office of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, as well as the judges of the Supreme Economic Court. It should be pointed out that the judges of the regional economic courts of the country were also able to participate in the event by the means of audio-visual conferencing. During the press conference, the participants visited one of the newly equipped courtrooms, where they could observe the features of the installed equipment for audio-visual recording of court proceedings. Prior to that, in September 2015, to ensure effective use of audio-visual recording system in the proceedings, the Supreme Economic Court, in cooperation with the joint project organized a special training that engaged 59 representatives of economic courts, particularly judges and other court personnel.
The use of the audio-visual recording systemis foremost aimed at improving the quality and simplifying the process ofprotocoling, and in the future, the audio-visual recording can potentially eliminate the paper based protocoling. In addition, the audio-visual recording can serve as a measure to improve the discipline of both the parties and the judges. A complete audio-visual recording of the court proceeding can be provided to the parties on an information carrier, upon their request.
Overall, the introduction of audio-visual recording will help to automatecommercial litigation process, and thus, not only enable transparency and efficiency of economic courts, but eventually, contribute to the creation of a favorable business environment.Importantly, contractenforcementbeingamongthe 10 indicatorsofDoing Business,stands for effective and transparent litigation process, the availability of tools to protect the rights and interests of business community, and eventually leads to the boost in the confidence of private sector and investors that their legitimate rights and interests are protected.
It should be noted, that it is planned to develop proposals to theEconomic Procedural Code, based on the results of the upcoming piloting of the system. Changes in the legislative framework will ensure sustainable use of this technology in the courts across the country.
It must be emphasized, that the Supreme Economic Court is a strategic partner of the joint project. Currently, the collaboration with the Supreme Economic Court is being expanded for 2016-2017, to cover a various activities, including, the introduction of a system of depersonalization of judicial decisions and their publication on the Internet, which will ensure consistency of judicial practice.
Introduction of ICTs into courts is among the priorities of the on-going judicial reform in Uzbekistan, aimed at improvement of access to justice and provision of favorable conditions for the growth of entrepreneurship.