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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Qatar’s courts are finally going digital


Court of Appeals and Cassation. Credit: Chantelle D’mello/Doha News

Qatar residents will soon receive court verdicts via SMS and see justice delivered more promptly as the judicial system takes steps to embrace technology.

After years of complaints, the government is now planning to electronically overhaul the country’s courts, QNA reports.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect.

The number of court cases heard in Qatar is on the rise.

The move to “modernize” comes as Qatar’s courts grow more crowded than ever.

In 2015, the most recent figures available, the judiciary heard 100,000 cases, an 8 percent increase from the year before.

Morning chaos

For years, Qatar has faced pressure both at home and abroad to revamp its judicial system.

It was formed a quarter century ago when the population was less than a million people.

The lower criminal court in Al Sadd is often chaotic, with at least 50 people crowding into a courtroom to wait for their cases to be heard each morning.

Additionally, hearings often end with a postponement. This means the defendant must return to court at a later date.

And even if a trial proceeds, testimony must be given slowly, as all official notes are handwritten by a clerk sitting near the judges.

Verdicts via SMS

But some strides are being made. The Qatar Tribune reported this week that the courts have begun notifying defendants and plaintiffs about rulings via SMS.

This helps save time because people do not necessarily need to attend court hearings to hear verdicts, the newspaper said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Pixabay

Additionally, courts have started to digitally archive cases.

Just yesterday, the SJC published an electronic version of all the rulings made by the Court of Cassation from 2004 to 2014.

The encyclopedia is available in Arabic only and aimed at helping “facilitate research,” QNA reports.


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