The New Way To File Court Cases
2 months ago, we told you about the major technological upgrade that was being planned for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. It's called the Curia court management system, and it was developed by APEX Justice, an agency created by the Caribbean Court of Justice, the highest court in the land.
APEX specializes in creating solutions to address the specific needs of courtrooms in the Caribbean. Their Curia software suite was specifically designed so that the CCJ can accept the digital filing of court documents. In February, Apex entered an agreement with the Belize Government to implement that same system for Belizean courtrooms. This morning, the parties held a virtual launching ceremony to inform Belizeans that this e-filing upgrade has been completed.
Here's what the organizers had to say about this improvement to the court, which allows them to put aside a tedious and outdated filing system:
Hon. Westmin James - Supreme Court Judge
"The event today marks 6 weeks of hard work where the court has moved from a completely paper-based system to one in which lawyers can file cases electronically. They can be stamped as being filed electronically, and accessed by the judges, and the parties to the case almost immediately."
Hon. Michelle Arana - Acting Chief Justice
"The platform we're using was developed by Apex, an agency established by the Caribbean Court of Justice to meet the peculiar needs of Caribbean courts."
"Before this system was implemented, persons submitting documents to the court would have had to manually photocopy and bring physical copies to the court. The court would then have to verify and stamp each page, an expensive and time-consuming process. Now, litigants can submit case files electronically. This is a radical shift that lowers the cost of presenting cases at the court, and dramatically reduces the time it takes for the registry to process case documents. I can summarize the benefits as 1, improved efficiency. When your lawyer needs to file your case in the Supreme Court, transportation, schedules, the logistics of printing hard copies, and taking them to court, all are factors that no longer will be challenges that delay your case getting in the system. Now, your lawyer can do this from his or her office at any time. 2 greater transparency, your attorney will be able to track the progress of your case. Folio, this E-filing platform, allows for the attorney to log in at any time and upload additional documents, submit notes, and also check the status of your case. 3, reduce cost, the number of funds that will be saved from less printing of case documents can be used to continue modernizing the court, and providing better service to the public."
Trienia Young - Registrar General, Belize Courts
"The attorney will register, and after going through a registration and approval process, will gain access to Folio. When the attorney is ready to file a case, this will be uploaded. The registry will assign that case to the attorney. The attorney can then login and access his or her case, and receive a real-time update on them."
Hon. Minet Hafiz-Bertram - Acting President, Court of Appeal
"The E-filing and the use of Attache will result in greater efficiency and effectiveness in the case of management at the Court of Appeal."
Hon. Magali Marin-Young - Attorney General
"With this new technology, litigants and attorneys will be able to file court papers digitally, using their laptops and even their phones, eliminating the physical presence at the registry. Online payment is still not available, but we are surely working on this."
So to reiterate, APEX has provided an e-Filing system for the courts, as well as a case management system for the Court of Appeal.