e-Litigation platform- to ensure uninterrupted access to justice

To ensure uninterrupted access to justice particularly for remote, far-flung communities during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judiciary launched its e-Litigation platform on Saturday with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The e-Litigation platform will enable virtual hearing of cases. This means the litigants will not have to travel to courts.

The service will be piloted in seven courts covering 26 benches. The list includes the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the Sakteng Dungkhag Court among others.

“Starting from the court payment, everything is done through e-payment and even the hearings are going to be conducted virtually. So that way, a lot of travel cost is saved. Trashigang is one example. The party from Trashigang has to come all the way here and there are costs involved. But when you have a virtual hearing like the e-Litigation platform provides, costs will be cut down,” said Tshoejab Mepham Denlen, the Supreme Court Registrar.

The UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota said access to justice services is a challenge in Bhutan due to the country’s demanding geographical terrain and sparsely distributed population. And the need for bridging the access gap has become more pressing in the wake of COVID-19.

As per a joint press release from the judiciary and the UNDP, moving forward, the e-Litigation platform will be integrated with the existing community services, including the Gewog Community Centres. This will make access to judicial services easier for the people in rural communities. The Office of the Attorney General and the Royal Bhutan Police will also be able to make use of this service.

Bhutan is one of the first countries in the region to initiate e-Litigation as a COVID-19 response measure.

Choni Dema

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