The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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€10 million in EU funds to be spent on new digital strategy for justice sector

Sabrina Zammit Friday, 3 December 2021, 15:02 Last update: about 11 months ago

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi announced on Friday, that €10 million in EU funds will be invested in the justice sector, which will see the governance in Malta strengthened through the implementation of the newly launched Digital Justice Strategy for the years of 2022-2027. 

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry for Justice and Governance Johann Galea, said that public awareness is a key element in making sure that people are trained in the community to make sure that this strategy is not wasted and forgotten like others. 

Zrinzo Azzopardi said that this strategy shall prove to be revolutionary and that the fact that Malta has made this important investment in such a short period of time means that it is taking a proactive approach in turning the justice system into an efficient one.  

Zammit Lewis said that in recent months the government together with other national stakeholders had worked tirelessly to introduce technological systems in our courts and institutions to facilitate the delivery of justice. He added that this strategy will result in an improved system that is more effective and accessible to citizens. 

Deputy Director and Head of Unit for Governance and Public Administration at the European Commission Daniele Dotto said that the European Commission is delighted to support Malta during this shift as it is in line with the commission's objective to make justice more accessible to its users. 

Project support officer for CEPEJ from the Council of Europe Moritz Taylor said that the CEPEJ gives guidelines to all member states of the European Union for there to be better implementation of justice and their structures by proving guidance from experts and professionals in the field. 

Council of Europe Expert Bojan Mursec said that the aid of such experts helped them visualise the end project even in its early stages, even given that the needed meetings all happened online. 

Senior Manager from the Department of Justice Joanne Battistino said that the ability of the experts to understand what is going on in Malta without them being here is a testimony of their knowledge in the field. 

She believes that Malta can have one of the best justice systems in Europe if there is the necessary work put into it. Battistino said that with the justice system being digitalised it does not mean that it will replace human connection but it will help to sharpen the needed abilities, for a more efficient and proactive approach in the Department for Justice. 

Delving into details about the Digital Justice Strategy and how it came to be, Battistino said that the strategic principles include the stakeholder involvement from an early stage; the fostering of a culture of Accountability and transparency towards citizens and institutions, in line with the fourth pillar of the Public Administration’s quality service; full interoperability in line with the “Enterprise Architecture Policy for Interoperability and Reuse”; Project-based management for the carrying out of the strategy; the making of a truly digital-by-default principle; the addressing of the European Dimension of the digitalisation of justice, to align its information systems with developments in European Union regulations and practices. 

She added that the vision of the strategy includes the gradual redesign of the business process in the justice sector to make them digital by default; to ensure access to justice and legal information to legal professionals and all citizens, including the ones with poor IT literacy; the introduction of analytical capabilities in the justice sector and the building and improving the digital skills and competences of judges, whilst supporting their staff and external professionals within the justice sector. 

The Justice Ministry’s Chief Information Officer Donald Mangion said that strategically planning the sustainable maintenance and development of the information systems can be regarded as one of the key success factors in the successful introduction of e-justice. 

Referring to the part of such a system as technological building blocks, Mangion said that both internal and general users will need to identify and authenticate themselves to interact through the justice information systems; Electronic payments will be facilitated through MITA via the “centralised Digital Enabling Services Policy” for all Public Administration through the Government Payment Gateway.

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