Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
13 June 2021
ICT Minister Delivers Talk at Fifth Cairo High-Level Meeting for African Constitutional, Supreme Courts, Councils

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a talk during the “e-Justice and digital transformation in African societies” session of the Fifth Cairo High-level Meeting of the Heads of African Constitutional and Supreme Courts and Constitutional Councils.

The Meeting was hosted by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), and chaired by SCC President Said Marei Amr. It was attended by SCC Vice-President and Secretary-General of the Cairo meeting Adel Omar Sherif, a number of heads of constitutional and supreme courts and constitutional councils, and senior judges from 40 African countries.

In his talk, Talaat stressed that digital transformation has had a great impact in providing great opportunities for judicial authorities to harness information technology to serve justice and law and achieve digital justice. He explained that digital justice means using ICT to develop an informational judicial system that capitalizes on digital technologies in implementing litigation procedures.

This will help raise the efficiency of the judicial system, speed up the settlement of lawsuits, increase the productivity of courts, and simplify procedures for citizens, lawyers and disputing parties. This is in addition to reducing and limiting costs, governing performance, reducing paper usage, and reducing overcrowding in prosecutions and courts, which appeared to be crucial with the application of precautionary measures amid the pandemic, as well as a major milestone in building Digital Egypt.

The ICT Minister pointed out that the availability of digital databases and the integration between them provide judges with accurate data that helps them perform their work. He added that there is a global trend towards the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the field of criminal justice to assist in investigations and in automating and facilitating decision-making, as well as the use of risk assessment algorithms in parole cases.

Moreover, Talaat said that the State attaches great importance to the completion of the implementation of Digital Egypt Justice project, which aims to develop the judicial system and achieve swift justice by using modern technologies through the establishment of a unified technological judicial system that contributes to the development of litigation mechanisms before courts. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, within the framework of achieving the State’s vision to build Digital Egypt.

The project involves a number of judicial authorities and entities, including SCC, the Court of Cassation, the Public Prosecution, the Administrative Prosecution Authority (APA), courts, the Council of State, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority (ESLA), and the Ministry of Interior. This in addition to a number of auxiliary bodies, such as notarization offices, the Experts of Ministry of Justice Authority, the Forensic Medicine Authority, the Illicit Gains Authority, and the Real Estate Registry.

The ICT Minister highlighted that the project resulted in the launch of a number of digital services through Digital Egypt platform, including notarization services and the service of filing civil lawsuits, which enables litigants to file a civil lawsuit and pay fees using the e-payment methods available on the platform, in addition to scheduling hearings, tracking requests, and receiving notifications of hearings dates via e-mail, without the need to visit the court.

Furthermore, there is the remote renewal of pretrial detention project, which aims to enable judges to decide whether to renew the detention of the accused using modern technologies, without the need to transfer the accused from prison cells to courtrooms. This is achieved by linking the elements in the system through videoconference, which helps reduce the security risks associated to the transportation of the accused, save transportation expenses, and facilitate the process for the system users.

Talaat added that projects are being implemented to develop civil, criminal, and specialized courts, in addition to implementing an electronic litigation project in the Economic Court, through which litigants will be able to submit and file lawsuits, and attend hearings virtually, in the presence of judges, lawyers and parties to the case. This will help facilitate the litigation process for companies and litigants from owners of companies outside Egypt.

In addition, the ICT Minister said that the law enforcement system is being implemented in collaboration between a number of State agencies to develop a single work system for judicial authorities. Work is underway to automate the system elements, including the police departments, the Public Prosecution, the courts, and judgment execution procedures, allowing a remote follow-up of lawsuits and a speedy enforcement of the judgment.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is cooperating with SCC to digitize and develop SCC work systems using modern technologies to create a digital constitutional court, Talaat said, adding that the two sides are also researching the use of AI in converting audio investigation transcripts to text.

Moreover, Talaat highlighted that Egypt has successfully taken concrete steps in implementing Digital Egypt strategy, through which a comprehensive digital system will be created to render government services in a way that saves time and effort and eliminates red tape and corruption. He pointed out MCIT efforts in launching the African digital judicial platform, two years ago. The platform aims to link judicial authorities across the continent, and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices on all justice-related issues in Africa.

The ICT Minister underlined that in light of Egypt's chairmanship of the African Union (AU) Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and ICT (STC-CICT), the country supports all the efforts of strengthening productive cooperation in the field of adopting digital technologies and achieving digital economic integration.

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