Zambia modernizes its Judiciary
May 03, 2013
The Government of Zambia has modernized its Judiciary, thanks to a collaboration with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa. Aimed at improving investor confidence, the modernization efforts focused on increasing the transparency of the Zambian Judiciary through the use of technology.
Through a two-year project co-funded by ICF and the Government of Zambia, 10 courts and 13 registries in Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola have been equipped with state of the art technology.
Courtrooms, including those of the Zambia High Court and the Supreme Court, have been fitted with real time digital transcription facilities to ensure court proceedings are recorded quickly and accurately. Because the transcription is done digitally, court transcripts are now available much faster than before. Audio recording facilities have been added to ensure greater transparency and provide backup should a dispute arise over what has been transcribed. Projection equipments have also been installed inside courtrooms enabling everyone to clearly see evidence that is being presented in court.
To improve the security and access to case files, an electronic record and case management system has been introduced. Close to 19,000 court records have already been digitized, greatly reducing instances of misplaced records.
The modernization drive has had other unexpected benefits. Court reporting, which was previously seen as a job for high school leavers, is now receiving attention from university students. Already, 15 university graduates have been recruited by the Judiciary as real time court reporters.
But more broadly, Zambia is being seen as a model example in Africa of how to implement state of the art technology in court rooms across the country. Several African countries have already visited Zambia to learn from them.