The Lawyers & Jurists Foundation successfully completed its 4th digital dialogue on 'The Functioning of the Courts during the Pandemic of Covid-19: Issues and Challenges', which was streamed live from its Facebook page on July 25, 2020.
The discussants were Mr. Justice Md. Tafazzul Islam, Former Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Madam Justice Naima Haider, Judge of Hon'ble High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Mr. Ajmalul Hossain QC, FCIArb, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and International Arbitrator, and Mr. A.M Masum, Bar-at-Law, FCIArb, Advocate, Appellate Division, Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Former Chief Justice Md. Tafazzul Islam explained why courts all over the world are increasingly functioning remotely and conducting cases virtually and why it was impossible in Bangladesh to resume the regular court proceedings and why in the context of coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has embarked upon its journey of conducting judicial proceedings virtually.
Madam Justice Naima Haider explained the advancement of technology in judicial system and observed that technological innovations and advancements have seeped into the lives of the people and similarly available technology can be utilised properly in a progressive, structured and phased manner by the judiciary in order to reduce pendency of cases, faster disposal of cases and efficient management of cause lists.
Mr. Ajmalul Hossain QC referred that the courts in USA, UK, Singapore, Australia, Canada, India are already leaving their footprints in the digital space. Their judicial system allows court proceedings to be carried out through videoconferencing.
Mr. Hossain emphasised that the right to protection of law and access to justice are fundamental rights and are enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh which should not in any way be curtailed.
Mr. A M Masum pointed out that the principle underlying open justice was formulated by Lord Chief Justice Hewart to mean that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. He further added that the principle of open justice represents an element of democratic accountability, and the vigorous manifestation of the principle of freedom of expression and hence, ultimately it supports the rule of law itself.
Mr. Masum also discussed on the issue of live streaming of virtual proceedings stating that access to justice can never be complete without the litigants being able to see, hear and understand the course of proceedings first hand.
The Dialogue was moderated by Mahfujur Rahman Roman, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh while Nazmus Sakib, law associate of The Lawyers and Jurists, coordinated the same.
Event covered by Law Desk.