Tsuen Wan Law Courts Building to be re-commissioned in October
The following is issued on behalf of the Judiciary:
The Judiciary announced today (September 16) that the Tsuen Wan Law Courts Building (TWLCB) at 70 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan, will be re-commissioned with effect from October 4.
A Judiciary spokesman said, “The re-commissioned TWLCB will mainly be used for hearing cases of the District Court (DC) which do not involve or attract many court users. This would free up courtrooms in the DC at Wanchai Law Courts Building (WCLB) for cases related to social events (SE cases).”
The re-commissioned TWLCB comprises four small courtrooms, each capable of handling cases involving up to five defendants, 15 legal representatives and around 20 members of the public or media. Other supporting facilities include consultation rooms, witness waiting rooms, court extension areas for broadcasting of court proceedings and robing facilities for legal representatives. Planning for the re-commissioning project commenced in mid-2020 and the construction works were completed in August this year at an estimated cost of $29 million.
Built in the 1970s, the TWLCB was de-commissioned after the relocation of the then Tsuen Wan Magistrates’ Courts to the West Kowloon Law Courts Building (WKLCB) in 2016. It has since been used mainly as the Judiciary’s storage facilities for court files.
“The rapid and substantial upsurge in SE cases has brought unprecedented challenges to the Judiciary in terms of court premises and judicial resources, mainly because quite a number of them involve a large number of defendants, legal representatives, media and public viewers, and evidence in the form of voluminous video recordings.
“The Judiciary has been making continued efforts to increase judicial manpower through recruitment of judges and appointment of deputies. We have also been making the best possible use of all the 130 existing courtrooms suitable for criminal cases in 10 law court buildings at an average of 80 hearings each week to expedite the processing of SE cases.
“As at end July 2021, over 1 900 cases were brought before various levels of courts and around 1 400 (around 74 per cent) have already been disposed of. It is expected that the vast majority of cases at the Magistrates’ Courts would have been disposed of by the end of this year. The upcoming challenge lies mainly with cases to be handled by the DC. By the end of July 2021, over 300 criminal cases were received, with about 250 cases yet to be disposed of. Many of them involve 10 or more defendants, entailing long trials, some of which lasting over 20 to 30 days,” the spokesman explained.
Given the limited number and capacity of existing courtrooms suitable for criminal cases, most of which were designed for cases with less than 10 defendants, the Judiciary has been adopting various measures to cope with the huge and rapid upsurge in SE cases –
(a) carrying out conversion works in existing courtrooms to enlarge their capacity –
(i) 10 courtrooms in the WCLB from handling cases with a maximum of six defendants to up to 10-12; and
(ii) the mega court of the WKLCB from accommodating cases with a maximum of 12 defendants to up to 50, 100 legal representatives and 50 family members or members of the general public;
(b) using adjacent courtrooms for broadcasting court proceedings at the WCLB and the WKLCB to enlarge the effective capacity of courtrooms (the paired courtroom arrangement); and
(c) relocating suitable DC cases with more than 10 defendants to the WKLCB (including the newly renovated mega court capable of handling cases involving up to 50 defendants which was open for use as from September 14), taking into account the need for the latter to accommodate cases with multiple defendants at other levels of court.
The above measures, particularly the paired courtroom arrangement, will however reduce the number of courtrooms that may otherwise be used for other criminal cases at the WCLB. The Judiciary sees the imminent need to re-commission the TWLCB for providing timely additional courtroom facilities to help address this shortfall so as to increase the overall capacity of the DC for handling SE and other criminal cases.
The Judiciary will monitor the situation with a view to identifying appropriate and feasible ways and means of expanding courtroom facilities for the same purpose.
E-Committee, Supreme Court of India has released Manual for its top citizen-centric service- free “e-Courts Services Mobile app” in 14 languages (English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarathi, Kannada, Khasi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu). “e-Courts Services Mobile app” already released by e-Committee, Supreme Court of India for the benefit of the Litigants, Citizens, Lawyers, Law firms, Police, Government Agencies and other Institutional Litigants has so far crossed 57 lakh downloads.
The mobile app and its manuals in English & regional languages can be freely downloaded from the official website of the e-Committee, Supreme Court of India https://ecommitteesci.gov.in/service/ecourts-services-mobile-application/ .
Dr. Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and the Chairperson of e-Committee, fore-worded the manual and stressed the importance of this free mobile app and highlighted the reach of this citizen-centric mobile app . He said, “The e-Committee of the Supreme Court has been at the forefront of introducing digital reforms in the field of law. In the past one year, the pandemic has also pushed advocates, judges and litigants to adopt high tech solutions due to the closure of offices and courts in light of lockdowns and public health concerns. Working remotely, virtual courts, digital workplaces and electronic case management have become integral to how the legal profession is practiced and conducted. This has given us a rare opportunity to embrace technology not just as an interim measure but to transform our legal system to make it more efficient, inclusive, accessible and environmentally sustainable. The e-Courts Services Mobile Application is a step in this direction.” He further added that many advocates and litigants have already embraced the services offered through this mobile application with more than 57 lakh downloads so far. The application will pave the way for optimizing our legal system in an ever-evolving digital world”.
Shri Barun Mitra, Secretary, Department of Justice, who has also fore-worded the manual, has highlighted the importance of this Electronic Case Management Tools for the Advocates. He said “As the legal world is gradually turning digital globally, the process of ICT enablement of the judicial landscape in India has concurrently made significant strides. As an integral part of this multidimensional initiative, the eCourts Services Mobile App has been widely hailed as an effective Electronic Case Management Tool (ECMT). Its popularity is manifested in the growing number of downloads by lawyers, having already crossed the 57 lakh figure”.
Shri Mitra observed, “Robust Case Management and sound supporting systems are at the core of any well-functioning legal architecture. ECMT tool enables a lawyer to efficiently manage case information, document assembly, calendaring, time-tracking of case status, accessing judicial decisions, compliance requirements etc. To cap it, ECMT is of immense convenience being available 24 x 7 with no geographical boundaries and easy access on no-cost basis. The eCourts Services Mobile App with its digital diary features has thus evolved into a must-have tool for lawyers to promote their professional efficiency. Publication of this Manual on eCourts Services Mobile App is yet another laudable step by the eCommittee of the Supreme Court to create large scale awareness of this ECMT and in bringing its benefits to the doorstep of the lawyers’ community.”
The e-Committee manuals released in English and regional languages explain all features with screenshots for easy understanding for the common man. The e-Courts services mobile app Manual in English was translated in regional languages by the in-house Human resource team of the eCommittee, comprising the Master trainers (Judicial Officers & staff) from various High Courts, in coordination with the Central Project Coordinators of the respective High Courts. The said regional language manuals are also made available on the respective High Court websites.
Using the eCourts services mobile application , one can get various citizen-centric services like search for cases with case numbers, CNR numbers, filing numbers, party names, FIR number, advocate details, Acts, etc. case type. Various search types like CNR Search, Case Status Search, Cause List Search also available. One can get the complete case history of the case from the filing until disposal, including the date wise case diary. One can access Orders/ Judgment, Transfer details of the case, interim application status from the mobile app. Through the e-Courts services mobile app- one can get the case status/ case details of both High Courts and District Courts.
The Advocate /Litigant/organization can maintain a digital diary of all cases under “My Cases”, which is the most used and attractive feature for Advocates & Litigants. It can be customized using the My cases option available in it is equivalent to a digital diary for an advocate/ litigant. Using ‘My Cases’, one can add the personal case numbers and can get automatic updates. It is also useful for litigants, firms, companies or organization having multiple cases in different Courts at different places. In ‘My Cases’, one can add his personalized list of cases and get all updates through the eCourts mobile application.
All the e-Courts services are also interlinked with the e-Courts mobile app.
The e-Courts Mobile app is also available in Indian regional languages.
The e-Courts Services mobile App is the personalized digital case diary for litigants/ common citizen/advocates/organization/government department with all the case details available in their hands(set) 24 *7 free of cost.
So During the pandemic, anyone can access the case status, court orders, cause list 24*7 and free of cost through their mobile phone with the e-Courts services mobile app without physically going to the concerned court complex !
(Release ID: 1721013)
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