Bahrain courts set to go digital
Bahrain planed to invest millions of dinars in new ‘digital courtrooms’ to replace the outdated paper-based system, said a senior government official.
The radical reform to the country’s legal system will see judges and court clerks use audio and visual technologies in an attempt to reduce the ‘stacks of paper’ created by the judicial system, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Lawyers and prosecutors will also be able to present evidence, including video and audio footage, digitally inside the courtrooms located in the ministry’s complex in the Diplomatic Area.
‘The current complex has expanded to include 80 courtrooms, which in addition to the numbers of visitors and suspects is placing pressure on the complex and it is irritating and frustrating to all of those involved in the legal process,’ Shaikh Khalid told the GDN.
‘We have rented an adjacent building and moved the civil courts there, but we have to think about 30 and 40 years from now and how we want the place to look.
‘It will cost millions of dinars to develop the current complex, but we are ready to have audio-video courtrooms until we come up with plans to expand the physical structure of the complex.
‘We are co-ordinating with the Supreme Judicial Council and if we find a plot outside the area then family courts will be moved there as we look for special suitable places for mothers and their children.’
He said plans to develop the court system would be executed in phases and on priority basis.
‘Logically, we want to progress and the ministry has a huge empty plot in Hamad Town, which it plans to utilise but we have not made arrangements for it yet,’ he said.
‘If we can have specific courts moved to other locations, then why not, because with less pressure on the current complex, it would be easier to carry out expansions and new projects.’
Meanwhile, Shaikh Khalid said a proposal to form a municipal police force, which would enforce municipal laws, was ‘unnecessary’.
‘We have municipal inspectors with judicial authorities and whatever they do is considered to have judiciary power,’ he said.
‘I understand that there are some cases in which people refuse to remove violations and the Public Security Police’s intervention could be used.’