FINALIST: Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative

Ask questions for the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative project here!

Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative
Federal Court of Australia, Australia/Regional

ABOUT: The goal of PJSI is to build fairer societies in the Pacific region by supporting partner courts to develop more accessible, just, efficient, and responsive court services. The Initiative was redesigned in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to re-align resources to address the new needs of communities during this pandemic. The redesign introduced new activities to address COVID-specific priorities including: protecting victims of family and sexual violence; remote delivery of court services; court data collection/analysis to improve capacity to manage courts based on current data-trends; and promotion of substantive justice for rights-holders needing the protection of the courts.

Learn more about this project on the World Justice Challenge website.

Really cool work! Curious on how you have found remote court cases working as opposed to in-person court cases. And how have you found it possible to work with this system in areas without stable internet connection?

Hi Andy - thanks for your question.

The trade-off with conducting hearings remotely is reliance on electricity and internet connectivity - which are patchy across the region, particularly on outer islands. Our partner courts are used to this however, and are managing to mitigate disruptions. While the internet has not reached many remote communities across the Pacific, the NGOs who support them are often connected and able to provide the link to formal courts. The proliferation of the internet and reliability of electricity are increasing across the region, which over time will extend the deployment and uptake of remote hearing technology.

Our partners tell us that in many cases they are preferring to conduct proceedings remotely as its saving a lot of time and money in bringing people together. This is producing further efficiencies in the management/disposal of cases. Also, parties who are anxious about coming to court, or witnesses who are vulnerable, are better served and protected as they are not physically present in court. In some locations remandees are able to participate from jail.

In sum, there’s great benefit being felt, and also more building and extending of the technological and procedural systems and capacity necessary for it to provide access to justice for all.

Does this answer your question? I’m very happy to discuss it further, if its useful.

Helen