Magali Marin Young, Attorney General of Belize, today signed a memorandum of understanding with APEX, the Caribbean Agency for Justice Solutions, to collaborate on the strengthening of systems to support the courts and the office of the Attorney General. The agreement includes provision for immediate implementation of e-filing for the courts and a digital case management system for the Court of Appeals. The initiative has been developed through the partnership between the Government of Belize, the Belize Judiciary, and APEX.
The agreement provides for the establishment of electronic filing and case management systems, an online helpdesk, and training for the utilization of the e-filing system. When implemented the new systems are expected to improve the provision of efficient legal services and establish more effective systems for monitoring, analysing and reporting on case trends to strengthen accountability and transparency in judicial procedures.
In her remarks, Hon. Marin Young (image above) said, “The digital innovation in Belize’s court system aims to enable people in Belize to access justice in a more efficient and timely manner. We are pleased that we will be able to use the Curia system developed by APEX in our courts. This is the same proven system that has been employed by the Caribbean Court of Justice, one of the most technology advanced courts in the world. Soon legal practitioners in Belize will see the entire process of litigation being rendered paperless. All filings will be done on an electronic platform, using laptops or even mobile phones.”
She added that “This software is presently being used by the Caribbean Court of Justice and has allowed litigants to file appeal documents online all the way from Belize, Guyana and elsewhere. I want to express my gratitude to APEX for reaching out to my office and being so willing to assist us in providing technical and developmental programmes to strengthen and improve the judicial and administrative system here in Belize. It also memorializes this government’s commitment to modernise the judiciary and to provide all the technical and other resources required to facilitate greater efficiency in the case management of cases and that will facilitate the electronic filing of court documents.”
Both the Acting Chief Justice of Belize, Hon. Michelle Arana, and the Acting President of the Court of Appeal of Belize, Hon. Minnet Hafiz-Bertram, have embraced this initiative to digitize their respective courts, as part of a wider effort to improve justice delivery in Belize, through the development of online courts and digital processes.
Justice Adrian Saunders, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), noted that justice cannot be insulated from the digital revolution taking place in other sectors. Justice Saunders said, “As technology innovations continue to advance, the law and justice system in the Caribbean should embrace it and not be afraid of the changes to tradition and practice it entails. This is why APEX was created to support the technology innovation as well as the capacity building that is necessary to effectively adopt technology across the region.”
Justice Saunders added that the era of paper-filled law offices and courts is fading as new technology becomes available to empower both the administrative and judicial proceedings of a case.
APEX is a non-profit agency established by the CCJ in 2016 to support digital transformation in courts throughout the region. The agency has developed a suite of technology to strengthen national and regional justice institutions to deliver improved services.