Automated web based court case information management system
Background to the study
The Judiciary is the system of courts of justice in a country, the arm of government charged with the responsibility to administer justice. Nigeria’s legal system was built on a foundation of received Anglo-Saxon common law, statutory law, and other documents. (The Judicial Secretary, 2016). It is independent from other government functions and provides a forum for the just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria. The Nigerian Judiciary consists of the Superior Courts of Judicature, which include the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the lower courts currently comprising the Circuit Courts, the District Courts and the Juvenile Courts. The Fast Track, Commercial Courts, Human Rights Court, Financial, Industrial (Labor) and Land Courts have recently been established as divisions of the High Court to facilitate the speedy resolution of disputes, particularly those of a specialized nature. (Dickson, 2015)
The advancements of the 21st century have led to an emergence of many disciplines with great potential to solve existing problems. One such potential field is Technology, which has over the years been increasingly adopted in many processes to avert the problems of ineffective and inefficient service delivery. (Chrisphine, 2012). One of the key areas of interest is automation of the judicial processes. Many challenges have been faced in the process of attaining justice including delays due to misplacement of the case files at the registry when reference is ought to be made. As legal practice has become more technologically advanced, pressure mounts on the courts is to join the flow of technological progress in other to provide a good service delivery. In addition, to emphasis on government transparency, to build public trust and confidence in judicial institutions. (Slowes, 2012)
Electronic Case Distribution System (eCDS) was introduced in Judicial Service of Nigeria. Under the Electronic Case Distribution System (eCDS), cases are assigned to the judges by the registrar. The system was to select adjudication cases at the High Court and was automated to eliminate suspicion of case fixing. It was introduced to judicial staffs and other stakeholders in Kumasi by Robert Cudjoe the Director of ICT in Judicial Service. (Joy FM, 2011)
The court can now electronically manage a case from the filing state and assigning cases to judges.
Case management is one of the main management activities in use within courts. The other main management effort is court management. While case management is connected to the primary processes in courts, which includes court administration and other processes that are directly related to case processing, the court management is connected to the secondary processes in courts and involves activities like strategy making, human resource management, research and development, Technology, finance, and maintenance of the build environment. (Rooze, 2010).
Component of case management
Electronic case management systems provide support and automation in case management. In order to support or automate case management, it is necessary to understand the components of case management as a management support. A typical process in court consists: (a) receive documents; (b) administrative preparation; (c) content preparation; (d) court decision-making;
(e) content elaboration; (f) administrative completion; (g) send and archive. (Rooze, 2010).
Statement of the Problem
Recently, Prosecuting Attorney’s current case management system is a desktop base application where cases that are registered are printed out and pasted on the notice board to enhance public access. The courts print out the cases that will be held in that particular week and keeps the outdated cases that have already been held in excel on the desktop. Due to this clients need to come back to the court to confirm the day its case will be held and sometimes leads to frustrations.
This project seek is to control and allow complete registration of all cases related to court activities to enhance reduction of time and eliminating manual works. The System delivers core functionality that is to provide meaningful ancillary benefits to the courts, such as more efficient data entry, more effective data retrieval, better tools and enhanced bar and public access, thus the public can have access to it anytime and anywhere.
Well developed and implemented Electronic Court Case Management System (eCCMS) make it possible for a court to stick more closely to a published standard schedule and timetable, which the court can track cases better, and controls the use of resources and notify and inform all on what has been decided and what is to be expected.
Purpose of the study
To study the influence of the Electronic Case Management System (eCCMS) on implementation and effectiveness of court service delivery in the Law Court Complex, Judicial Service of Nigeria.
Project Aims and Objectives
The aim of this project is to develop and implement an Electronic Court Case Management System (eCCMS) to control and allow complete registration of all court case which are related to the court by the domain user thus registrar, who can register, update, delete, and search case and create report. The flow of information provides communication and notification between the courts and public.
The following are the Objectives of the Project
- To implement an Electronic Court Case Management System (eCCMS) for case registration which are related to courts, and creation, modification and updating through user
- The software will allow information to be entered by users, control information in the system and tracking of current case status to enhance public
- The system “Event” and “Scheduling” is to determine new case arrivals, session appointments, case deadline, reservation of courtroom and the judge who will head the case.
- To develop friendly user interfaces combined with intuitive
- To create a database to store, manage and backup case
- To create an administrator page that will show statistical
Significance of the study
When this project is completed, it will benefit the following stakeholders: the industry (Judicial service), the society and the academia.
The industry (Judicial Service)
The system will be used by the registrar for case registration and data processing (data storage and data retrieval) which involves creation, modification and updating information through user interface.
The Chief registrar as well will be able to know the activities that is going on in various courts such as the name of registrars and the judge in each court, the time the registrar spent after login and also show the total number of a case type in each court such as trespassing, defrauding, robbery, data breach etc.
The system will enable client or individuals to get access to a case details anywhere and anytime by going online to visit the webpage, which shows the details of a case such as the sitting date, the suit number, the name of the judge who will handle the case, the courtroom which the case will be held, the names of both plaintiff and defendant, etc.
This project will illustrate how open source tools can be used for the development of web-based applications thereby making the academia aware of the benefits of using cheaper tools. This project in future will allow other students to review the application and to think of new ways in which some components of the application will be improved or think of ways of adding new components to meet more needs.
The nature of the project recommended agile model of System Development Life Cycle (SDLC).The agile model process starts with a simple implementation of a subset of the software requirements and iteratively enhances the evolving versions until the full system is implemented.
The agile methodology gives the need to develop a system based on the requirements of the users, and enable to add up various units of the system pertaining the various feedbacks received from the users. At each iteration and increment, design modifications are made and new functional capabilities are added. And the phases includes Identifying Problems, Opportunities and Objectives, Determine Human Information Requirement, Analyzing System Needs, Designing the Recommended System, Developing and Documenting Software, Testing and Maintenance of the system.
Observation at the Supreme Court and The Law Court Complex showed that the Court had traditional ways with managing administration tasks, such as case registrations, viewing the case list (Cause list) to the public and scheduling of cases. The courts sometimes struggle with tracking cases since their system is a desktop based system. This problem presented itself as an opportunity that can be built upon. The public sometimes complains they had to come far away from their destination to check when a case will be held and the courtroom. People visiting the first time get frustrated since he will pass through many processes sometime wait for long to know the time a case will be held.
Obtaining this information a system will be designed that will meet the requirement of all the users both the Domain users and the public. In the design phase, every user interface will be designed for each section of the web application. Each user interface will be designed based on the principles of the User Experience (UX).
Localhost, MySQL and MariaDB will serve as database source. The familiarity with MySQL offers the chance to work without problems. The development of this web application will require HTML CSS, jQuery. These will help in the development of the user interface and its elements such as web forms, buttons, and modals.
Finally, PHP as server side programming language to interact with MySQL database and MariaDB. The web application will be implemented via a hosting plan. Users will be able to access the web application by going to the specified URL of the application. The design will ensure a smooth transition to the web application for all users of the system.
Organization of the study
The project report is divided into five chapters. Chapter one of the study introduces the problem statement and describes how the specific problem will be addressed through the aims and objectives and it also contains the significance of this study. Chapter two focuses on the review of literature and relevant research associated with the problems addressed in the study. Chapter three presents the methodology and procedures used for data collection and analysis, determining functional and non-functional requirements of such an application. In chapter four, covers the areas of implementing and testing of various prototypes at different stages in the development and also it also contains the various techniques and languages used in the development process. Chapter five offers a summary and discussion of findings, implications for practice, present and future and recommendations for future research.