THE Judiciary of Tanzania is investing massively in information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate access to justice, thanks to the fifth phase government’s decision to improve the dispensation of justice.
There is a long time legal maxim which says “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
This means that if a judicial or legal remedy or relief to an aggrieved party is available, but is not accessed timely, it is the same as having no remedy or relief at all.
In this regard, justice has been denied to the person who is entitled to it.
This is due to the fact that the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania provides that ‘when the rights and duties of any person are being determined by the court or any other agency, that person shall be entitled to a fair hearing and to the right of appeal or other legal remedy against the decision of the court or of the other agency concerned’.
It also provides that ‘for the purposes of preserving the right or equality of human beings, human dignity shall be protected in all activities pertaining to criminal investigations and process, and in any other matters for which a person is restrained or in the execution of a sentence’.
There are reasons which cause delays in the dispensation of justice such as lack of judicial officers and adequate judicial infrastructure, just to mention a few.
President John Magufuli has been promising to improve the administration of justice and because of this many of the promises he has made are being fulfilled.
One of them is the ongoing improvement in the judicial infrastructure and the use of ICT in court sessions.
While addressing newly admitted High Court advocates to the bar in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Chief Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Juma, said the use of ICT among the advocates was inevitable in the 21st century and urged all judicial officers to utilise it and serve their clients effectively.
He said, for instance, that as of July 8, this year, 3,874 cases had been received through the judiciary’s network and there had been great strides in the use of videoconference sessions.
Yes, what is being done to improve the judiciary will facilitate the dispensation of justice and we commend the judiciary of Tanzania for investing in the use of ICT for it is the only sure way of access to justice, given the vastness of the country.
As the CJ stressed, the advocates should also adhere to professional ethics for it is in doing so that they will help magistrates and judges determine cases brought before them with fair judgement.