FEATURE STORY

“Smart Courts”: Promoting Judicial Transparency and Efficiency in Azerbaijan

October 17, 2015

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Over the past decade, Azerbaijan has strived to improve the transparency and efficiency of its judicial services, with a view to boosting public confidence in the judiciary and the court system, and ultimately playing a role in the country’s social and economic development.

The World Bank is providing support to Azerbaijan through its financing and knowledge services, with a focus on improving access to justice, especially for the most vulnerable. As part of this ongoing effort, the Bank’s $200 million Judicial Services and Smart Infrastructure Project ($100 million of which is financed by the IBRD) sets out to achieve a number of important objectives:

  • Strengthening e-justice services and reducing corruption (for example, through e-notarial services, e-bailiffs, SMS-based services, ICT-enabled case management),
  • Improving access to justice through legal aid and alternative dispute resolution systems,
  • Reducing the burden of business inspections to facilitate faster private sector growth that in turn will generate jobs, spur economic growth and promote inclusive and diversified development.

A key component of the Bank project is financing the construction of “Smart Courts”, which integrate ICT innovations in modern and accessible courthouse design. In addition to posting contract awards and caseload data, an innovative transparency measure is the already-operational 24/7 live web-streaming of the construction of the “Smart Courts”, which is accessible to the public.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Justice – the agency that implements the project – has activated publicly accessible weblinks for the three “Smart Courts” currently under construction: Sumgait Court Complex, Baku City Narimanov District Court, and Baku City Surakhani District Court. The weblinks, together with satellite images of the construction sites (which help to ensure compliance with safeguards), are featured on the Ministry’s website.

Previously financed “Smart Courts”, such as Baku City Yasamal District Court, have already demonstrated the positive local economic growth and employment impacts of co-locating key justice services such as courts, bailiffs and notary offices.

Within just a few years of Yasamal Court and its justice services becoming operational in 2012, businesses in the Yasamal neighborhood have received a new impetus generating much-needed employment and opportunity for local citizens.


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