The new computer system consists of an integrated search engine that allows easy document search by case number, names of parties or the case title.
Courtroom proceedings can now be recorded using voice-recognition software, while video conferencing and an SMS-based platform that gives individuals frequent updates on the progress of their cases can be utilised.
The new technology is part of a wider project of reforms which seeks to computerize all court records and its systems by the judiciary in all courts in Kenya.
In Eldoret, the project started late last year, and details of more than 15,000 cases have been logged in the computer system.
The cases include criminal and traffic offences and civil proceedings. For each one, a record of proceedings, hearing dates, legal submissions and the current status of the case is filed.
Users and court staff say the system has led to greater efficiency. Cases are prone to long delays when files and other crucial information get lost. Digital storage drastically reduces the amount of documentation that goes astray, and protects data against fire and flooding.
“There were massive complaints on how we were operating in the department, and during our regular meetings, court officials and court users suggested that we look into ways of computerising the courts,” said Charles Mbogo, chief magistrate at the Eldoret court, explaining how the project came about.
Kenyan chief justice Willy Mutunga has been focusing on digital reforms since taking over at the judiciary by introducing a vast number of policies in which judges and the system embrace technology.