New milestone

COURTS in Bahrain completed all cases before them last year (2020) despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it has been revealed.

In fact, they also completed 832 cases carried over from 2019, said Cassation Court president and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) deputy chairman Abdulla Al Buainain.

He was speaking during the annual judicial Press conference organised by the SJC at its premises in the Diplomatic Area.

Also present were SJC secretary-general Ali Al Kaabi and Cassation Court Attorney and Head of Judicial Inspection Abdulrahman Al Mu’ala.

Chancellor Al Buainain said all degree courts completed 63,347 cases for 2020 plus 832 carried over from 2019, making for a total of 64,179 – at the rate of 101 per cent.

The number of pending cases were drastically reduced from 40,021 in 2017 to 12,547 at the beginning of this year (2021).

“We are glad to say that despite the obstacles forced by Covid-19 all cases in 2020 were completed in the same year,” he told the GDN.

“In addition, 832 cases pending from 2019 were also completed.

“This was because the SJC and all concerned parties have rules and procedures to ensure legal procedures are carried out seamlessly without anyone at the risk of being exposed to the virus.

“For example, only eight people were allowed to be in a courtroom at a time.

“Besides, in co-operation with the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry, new initiatives were developed to improve the performance of the courts, by expanding the electronic services and involving the private sector.”

The physical presence of defendants was not required in court as hearings were carried out remotely with all parties providing their testimonies via court screens.

The defendants would give statements remotely via a television screen from Jaw Prison.

“In addition, we set up air-conditioned tents at the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry for lawyers and people to be able to view court sessions on monitors,” he said in response to a GDN query about how the courts managed to combat Covid-19 by using e-services, technology and other methods.

“Technology helped us continue the court sessions while other countries suspended court procedures due to the pandemic.”

On an average a case was completed in five months, with 67 per cent of the cases completed in less than three months, 87pc in less than six months with only 21pc of first-degree judgements (49,217 cases) being appealed.

Mr Al Mu’ala said that supervising judges dealt with 354 complaints received last year (2020).

“The number of reports prepared by the Judicial Inspection Department reached 78,” he said, adding that training programmes for 120 judges were also carried out.

“In addition, training programmes for 120 judges over 4,415 hours were conducted last year (2020) through the Institute of Judicial and Legal Studies, with judges of all civil, criminal and Sharia courts participating,” he said.

“Also, 12 new judges completed 594 hours of training.”




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