With the assistance of the Pacific Justice Sector Programme (PJSP), the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice has last week launched a new Case Tracking System (CTS) to improve management of its court cases.
Picture (Left to Right): Tamatoa Jonassen (Secretary), Kopu Matua-Atuatika (Registrar), MaCherie Mani (Deputy Registrar – Land Court), Alisha Rangi (Civil & Criminal Court Clerk), Teapaiariki Tearaitoa (Baliff & Court Orderly), Mitchell Tutangata (IT Manager).
The new system replaces an outdated system that relied primarily on a patchwork of excel spreadsheets and antiquated applications.
Implementing CTS provides for greater efficiency and enhanced accuracy to manage court cases from their inception until they are properly adjudicated. Furthermore, documents can now be uploaded in the centralized CTS system to allow the Cook Islands Judiciary to easily and securely access from anywhere in the world. With the implementation of CTS, the Ministry of Justice has modernized its court case management, which will also allow for greater reporting, tracking, analysis, monitoring, and scheduling of court cases.
Looking for a highly configurable and cost effective solution, CTS was developed by the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative (PJSI) beginning in 2019, which was funded by New Zealand’s MFAT, and run by the Federal Court of Australia. The current iteration of PJSI is PJSP, still funded by New Zealand’s MFAT but run by the New Zealand Office of the Chief Justice Te Kura Kawhakawā/Institute of Judicial Studies.
Mr. Tony Landsdell, PJSP’s Technical Adviser, is the architect of CTS and is supported by a Technical Developer, Mr. Karae Vurobaravu. The Cook Islands is the sixth jurisdiction to have deployed CTS, following the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, FSM National Supreme Court, and Pohnpei Supreme Court.
Implementation of CTS in the Cook Islands took 10 weeks and saw close to 18,000 cases being loaded across 42,000 court listings involving over 10,000 party records. For the first time this information is now visible and available to all judiciary and court administrators no matter their physical location.
Tamatoa Jonassen, Secretary of Justice, stated “the implementation of CTS is a significant achievement and improvement for our court system, and adds great value to the Ministry of Justice.”
CTS was gifted to the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice. An ongoing support agreement of a mere $1,000 NZD per annum provides technical support and allows each of the jurisdictions to benefit from any improvements and enhancements made to CTS in other jurisdictions.
CTS is a great tool to help our Court manage caseloads, improve delivery of justice for all, and it will have a positive impact in the years ahead.