IHC launches justice delivery project to restore public trust – Newspaper

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice Athar Minallah has launched the first-ever project aimed at restoring public confidence in the judiciary.

The project was launched at a ceremony held at the IHC attended by Chief Justice, IHC Judges, Minister of Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr. Jahanzeb and bailiffs.

The initiative, “Justice Reform Project: Reimagining Justice in the 21st Century and Restoring People’s Confidence in the Justice Delivery System,” focuses on the justice delivery system in Islamabad.

He identified three problems “the most serious and important from the point of view of the provision of effective services to litigants”.

Suggested Effective Alternative Dispute Resolution Regime for Justice System Transformation

According to the project concept paper, the common problem in the delivery of the justice system is delay.

Analysts say it can take up to 20 years for a case to go through the system, starting in district courts through to the final Supreme Court decision. Basically, the issue of delays stems from the waiting of cases within the system.

As of June 1, 2022, pending cases nationwide numbered over two million, of which approximately 82% were pending in district courts.

The total number of cases pending at the IHC was 17,000; however, in the district courts the figure was three times that of the IHC – 50,000 pending cases.

If the delay in the administration of justice and its enforcement is addressed, it would have certain benefits such as a stronger rule of law, greater societal well-being through a shared perception of an egalitarian, homogeneous and transparent justice, stronger values ​​of equity and equality, inhibiting the marginalization and exploitation of otherwise targeted communities.

The document suggested reforms at different levels. Some key areas of reforms are strengthening and overhauling grassroots institutions (IHC and District Courts), establishing a justice delivery system, and putting in place the fundamental enablers of sustained institutional strength.

He pointed out that several attempts at reform had been undertaken in the past but had not borne fruit.

For the transformation of the Islamabad justice system, the research paper suggested an effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) regime, catalyzing its adoption, the development of the institutional framework for ADR and mediation (especially the implementation establishment of an international arbitration institution), the establishment of dedicated commercial courts with a focus on the resolution of disputes involving international parties and foreign investors, the review and modernization of the existing HR model and capacity building for judicial officers and other staff. This includes recruitment, compensation, performance management and training.

In order to revamp the criminal justice system, the paper recommends the establishment of means to institutionalize the principles set out in the Law Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1976, enhancing the dignity of the legal professions and advancing the rights of litigants as consumers of the justice system.

A comprehensive reform effort may, at first glance, seem rather onerous and optimistic, he added.

He highlighted examples such as Singapore that can serve as testimonials to achieve the desired results.

Prior to the 1990s, Singapore’s court system was characterized by some of the same problems that Pakistan faces today: significant delays and delays, high costs and cumbersome procedures. It was estimated that in 1990 the Supreme Court of Singapore would take at least five years to dispose of pending cases and the subordinate courts had approximately 250,000 pending cases.

However, thanks to a reform process spanning just over a decade, Singapore’s judicial system has been recognized as one of the most efficient and effective in the world.

The document adds that it is necessary to revive and strengthen the system of values, the heart of which is legal ethics which must be respected by every practitioner of law.

“There is a need to understand the drivers that lead legal practitioners to violate ethical principles and to design and institute targeted interventions that counter these drivers.

This is essential to maintain the sanctity and dignity of the legal profession and to protect the rights of litigants,” the newspaper said.

Posted in Dawn, July 9, 2022

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