Driving school

Judicial innovations: promoting citizen orientation

NOTnever let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to reach the next level of potential. This is a quote from Kristen Ulmer, the best extreme big mountain skier in the world, a status she held for 12 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic of more than 900 days is one such crisis. As we emerge from this unprecedented stage of humanity and begin to bounce back and recover, terms and phrases that reflect the best and latest in managerial thinking, such as disruptive innovation, digital transformation , agility, the new world of work, empowerment and customer orientation has returned to the forefront after more than two and a half years of interruption. Some industries – such as banking, retail, telecommunications and BPO, to name a few – have been nimble and embarked on pivots to stay thriving during the pandemic and it looks like these revolutionary and revolutionary management paradigms have never left them.

Global transformation expert Keith Ferrazi, in his latest book, Being competitive in the new world of work, points out that for organizations to be the best separated from others, “radical adaptability” is necessary. In the Philippines and everywhere, this organizational response to rapidly changing internal and external environments is an integral part of the new world of work, and it is happening in the seemingly most unlikely organizations.

The Philippine judicial system is one Ifn example. In many other countries, a new IfThis area called Government Technology (GovTech) aims to improve the lives of citizens and establish a more responsive public service. The goal is for the government to provide a citizen-centric user experience that makes things easier for everyone.

When Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, in collaboration with the Supreme Court en banc, developed the Strategic Plan for Justice Innovations (SPJI) 2022-2027, this citizen-centric user experience as an end state was at the top of his mind. This SPJI is anchored on four guiding principles, namely: fair and timely justice; transparency and accountability; equality and inclusion; and adaptability to technology. From these principles flow three target outcomes: efIfefficiency, innovation and access.

Quoting a recent article by Rappler: “Before being appointed chief justice, Gesmundo had assumed leading roles in several reform committees. As an example among many reforms, the gradual transition to digital processes… has increased Gesmundo’s notoriety among court users: lawyers, litigants and even employees. The same article conIfrm that of the three branches of government, people are the least aware of what the judiciary does. End customers are the end users of the Ifcourts of first and second degree, judges being the faces of the judicial system. All other members of the judiciary exist to serve the judges, who are the internal customers. Raising awareness belongs to end customers.

This SPJI has left the starting line and, so soon, there are clear signs that the bold and ambitious plans of the Chief Justice will be realized. Here are some concrete examples of some places that need to be scaled up and replicated nationally in the long term:

1. There are amazing examples of Iftrial courts (municipal trial courts, metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts in cities, and municipal circuit trial courts) and second instance (regional trial courts) preparing for the new world of work. (NWOW) NWOW is expressed in terms of three dimensions: Work, Workplace and Worker.

These courts did not “waste the crisis” by embarking on digitally driven e-courts, an automated case management information system that included the electronic court raffle and electronic payment of court fees. This system has increased the efficiency and transparency of the courts by reducing the administrative workload of the courts and providing lawyers and litigants with easier access to case information.

The replication of these “courts of the future” which define the new world of work in the justice system is scheduled over time and a 2.0 version of the e-court is planned. The workplace of these courts consists of a variety of interconnected digital devices, including laptops, cell phones, desktop computers, selIfelectronic rings, wireless gooseneck microphones and smart video conferencing TVs. Judges and court staff, on the other hand, will need to be digitally savvy (many already are) in addition to the usual high competence and deep commitment that is required of judicial staff.

2. The effectiveness of judicial frontliners – judges and executive judges – is measured by ensuring that case processing times are met and justice is served fairly for all. This refers to arbitration, the legal process of resolving a dispute or settling a case – which is one side of the coin of the role of judges and executive judges. The flip side is the tricky part.

This is the administrative aspect such as the purchase of supplies and equipment under their authority, hiring requests, posting of vacancies, approval of maintenance expenses and other operating expenses. (MOOE) within the limits, the preparation of the reports required by the OfIfthat of the judicial administrator-central management ofIfthis, etc. Time spent on administration consumes time available for arbitration, which ultimately affects service delivery to the public. Executive Judges and Judges are to be commended for balancing their primary adjudication work expected of them and administrative work.

For judges to be truly effective, they must concentrate on the work of officiating. At the same time, at the administrative level, it will be a question of supporting and strengthening the Office of the judicial administrator.

3. The judiciary is full of Judicial Excellence Awardees recognized by a Society for Judicial Excellence in the Supreme Court. A common denominator of these judge/executive judge/clerk recipients is the reduced caseload during their time in court. Their effectiveness is multiplied many times over if they are supported by knowledgeable and knowledgeable court personnel, such as court clerks, legal researchers, stenographers, sheriffs, and other team members.

I strongly believe that transformation and innovation can thrive in any setting. In the justice system, the ingredients for success are there: leadership with political will, a strategic plan that fosters innovation, processes that will be driven by internal and external clients, and a strong sense of purpose to serve people. It is only a matter of time before the justice system becomes a prime example of what government technology could bring to the Philippines. It may be a long road, but hopefully the justice system will provide the spark that will spread like wildfire.Ifre.

Ramon B. Segismundo is Co-Chair for Strategic Human Resource Management of MAP’s Human Development and Management Committee. He is the founder and CEO of 1-HR.X Pte/ Ltd. Singapore and a member of the Faculty of De La Salle University Graduate School of Business.

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