A delegation of Lahore High Court (LHC) led by Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, and comprising of judges from all tiers of judicial hierarchy including justices of high court to a civil judge, spent an eventful day in London on Tuesday.
The delegation is here to build linkages with the United Kingdom (UK) Judiciary in collaboration with the British High Commission (BHC). It aims to enhance the efficacy of the justice delivery system in Punjab. Besides, the delegation intends to identify lessons learnt and the challenges of implementing judicial reform processes in the UK within the areas of case management, alternate dispute resolution, district courts and judicial training, which in turn will contribute towards the ongoing reformatory processes at the LHC.
Earlier in the morning, the delegation visited the Blackfriars Crown Courts where judge Hillen and judge Shetty briefed the delegation about the Digital Case System (DCS) deployed at the Crown Courts recently. The briefing included a practical demonstration by the courts judges on how the DCS works.
The members of the delegation also observed live proceedings to comprehend the functionality of the DCS and were provided with insights from the administrative team.
The delegation also went to the Royal Courts of Justice where they were greeted by Lord Justice Gross. After a lunch at the Gray’s Inn with Lord Justice Gross and the benchers, a meeting of the delegation with Lord Justice Gross took place which was emphatically focused on fundamentals of judicial reforms.
The challenges of judicial reforms and that of implementing case management procedures at the UK courts remained the major area of interest during the meeting. It was established that by building cooperation amongst the two judiciaries, the efficiency of justice delivery system in the Punjab province could be exponentially enhanced.
The two judicial dignitaries agreed that inter judicial bonding will have far reaching effects in instilling reforms in the administration of justice in both the countries.
Later in the day, part of the delegation went over to the office of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) where they were briefed about the functionality and working of the CPS and the areas where reforms in CPS had brought about positive changes. Witness support programs, alternative disposals, and difficulties of cases involving domestic violence were some of the areas deliberated upon by the participants.
Also, CPS Digital Manager Sharon Smith shared with the delegates the highlights of the Case Management System operational at the CPS and also briefed them about its connectivity with DCS.
Besides the chief justice, members of the LHC delegation are Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan, Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi, Sohail Nasir, Rawalpindi District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Akmal Khan, Directorate of District Judiciary Director General Aysha Khalid, additional district and sessions judge/senior instructor Punjab Judicial Academy, and Research Officer Mohsin Mumtaz.