Belize City, April 26, 2021
The Belize Judiciary and the Attorney General’s ministry have gone paperless to speed up the delivery of justice!
In a short space of six weeks, the Belize Courts and justice system have implemented the Curia software suite developed by Advanced Performance Exponents Ltd (APEX). Attorney General Hon. Magali Marin Young announced the launch of the new system via a virtual ceremony on Monday morning, April 26.
She thanked APEX for providing high technology solutions to strengthen the Judiciary and modernize the administration of our justice system. APEX offers this regional software support to all territories who have adopted the CCJ as their final court of appeal.
The Curia suite allows litigants to file court documents electronically from any part of the Caribbean easily and securely. It also offers “Sightlines”, an analytic software system to supervise judges’ performance by providing data analysis of how long cases take to progress through the courts. Marin said the implementation of the new software formalizes the Government of Belize’s commitment to modernize the judiciary and to provide the technical and other resources required to facilitate greater efficiency.
Chief Justice Michelle Arana welcomed this new state-of-the-art system, citing the many benefits: its low cost and how it speeds up the delivery of justice. She noted that the previous paper filing system at the Registry had become especially cumbersome in the COVID pandemic era, but now this technologically advanced case management system allows attorneys and judges to access court files anytime, anywhere. Attorneys can submit court documents from their laptops or even their phones, wherever they happen to be working.
The Acting President of the Appeals Court Justice Minett Hafiz-Bertram thanked the Attorney General for digitizing the court documents process, as the Court of Appeals had immediately begun using APEX’s e-Folio software for electronic filing of the court documents, and “Attaché”, an electronic case management system developed by APEX.
Trienna Young, an official of the Attorney General’s Ministry, described how the new electronic procedures had dramatically reduced the paper trail, because, in the past, the filing attorney would have had to file several copies of any document submitted to the Court, each of which had to be photocopied and verified by the registrar. Young explained that the entire process was both costly and time-consuming. For cases which went before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), an attorney would have to file 10 copies of each document. This might amount to perhaps 34 volumes of 200 pages: this would mean 68,000 photocopies. There would also be the cost to FedEx those 340 volumes from Belize to Trinidad!
APEX executive director Bevil Wooding explained that the Curia suite would render the entire process of litigation paperless. He also introduced other Caribbean jurists who sent their congratulations. These included Belizean Justice Denys Barrow, who is now a CCJ judge; CCJ President Hon. Justice Adrian Saunders; former CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron; Justice Indira Demereitte Francis of the Bahamas; Attorney Jennifer Astaphan, an APEX director; and Ms. Tonya Bastian Galanis, principal of the Eugene Dupuch Law School.