New software for automated distribution of civil, economic and administrative cases is being tested by the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, aimed at simplifying case assignment among judges, reducing corruption and facilitating fairer, more efficient case handling.
Initially designed to create a simple case distribution mechanism, the software has evolved to handle more sophisticated tasks and is now integrated to cover most internal document flows within the Supreme Court. The system is being tested using real data and a simplified algorithm, and training for all judges is proceeding.
It was developed by ‘Adilet Sot’, the information technology (IT) branch of the judiciary, with support from the USAID–IDLO Judicial Strengthening Program (JSP) in the context of the program’s e-justice initiatives to strengthen the integrity of the justice system, minimize corruption and enhance transparency and accountability.
Konstantin Stepanov, a specialist working for the Adilet Sot IT unit, explained how the system works: “Judges receive cases at the push of a button, directly from the automatic case assignment. The new process saves judges time and reduces the workload of court personnel.”
In addition to making processes faster and more efficient, a key benefit of automation is greater transparency as the software provides a history of case allocation, online calendars for judges and instant access to reports and statistics.
“It also helps avoid subjectivity because disputes are automatically assigned to three judge members of a panel,” said Mr. Stepanov. “Since the allocation is based on a logical algorithm and since it keeps track of the assignment history, the process has become transparent like never before. People using the Kyrgyz justice system can expect better services and more transparent procedures”.
People using the Kyrgyz justice system can expect better services and more transparent procedures
Adilet Sot: the Kyrgyz judiciary's in-house IT agency
Adilet Sot was established when, lacking an external IT provider capable of providing the necessary range of services within the means available, the judiciary was forced to create its own. IDLO through the JSP provided key initial support in the form of technical consultation, strategic planning and financial assistance to build the foundation for long-term sustainability and independence of the unit.
Following intense lobbying for adequate budget to create and sustain an internal agency, Adilet Sot was finally set up within the Court Department of the Supreme Court in April 2015 and is now independently financed by the court system.
|2014 - 2016: milestones in the establishment of Adilet Sot|
The unit has hired 17 employees and has helped recruit around 40 IT specialists to support the 65 local courts that have internet access and are expected to publish judicial decisions via the national online portal www.sot.kg. By offering competitive salaries based on Kyrgyz market rates, the government-run entity has managed to recruit and retain the high-calibre IT specialists needed to sustain it over the long term.
Prior to receiving technical assistance JSP, the courts of the Kyrgyz Republic had never had an IT strategy. There was no central analysis of IT needs; no IT decision-making mechanism; no objectives for IT development.
Nurlan Duisheev, IDLO’s Judicial Reform Advisor in Bishkek, commented: “When IDLO helped establish Adilet Sot, one of the most critical factors was its long-term sustainability and local ownership. There are many examples of costly initiatives being launched that had to shut down as they failed to address the ongoing upkeep of IT systems. Adilet Sot has been an innovative way of approaching e-justice reform. It is a crucial piece in the puzzle of increasing the legitimacy of the justice system and improving access to justice for the people of the Kyrgyz Republic.”
The unit’s mandate is anchored in the judiciary’s reforms to modernize its IT systems and provide online access to judicial decisions, as laid out in the National Target Program for Development of the Judiciary 2014-2017 (NTP) of the Kyrgyz Republic. The current four-year NTP expires at the end of this year, and a new one for the 2018-2022 cycle – known as ‘NTP II’ – is being finalized with support from IDLO and others.
The director of Adilet Sot, Alexander Yuriev, said the agency is currently working on a number of important projects, such as supporting the implementation of a new law of publishing judicial decisions, writing the concept for the State Registry of Judicial Acts, digitizing unpublished old court decisions, establishing a unifying information portal for the judicial system, creating a website for the Court Department, and updating the websites of the Council of Judges and local courts.
“Adilet Sot has a lot of work to do, and good capacity to do it,” he concluded.
Adilet Sot has a lot of work to do, and good capacity to do it