As the Covid-19 crisis keep demonstrating that we must develop more mechanisms for exercising digital justice in order to facilitate the judicial procedures to ensure the restoration of rights in the easiest and fastest way possible while keeping social distancing till this pandemic ends.
In this respect, Egypt is currently taking real and huge steps towards facilitating the judicial procedures by exercising digital justice in order to try to minimize the risks of the pandemic in every way possible, these steps were announced by the Ministry of Justice (the “Ministry”) during its participation in the Cairo International Exhibition for Information and Communication Technology (Cairo ICT 2020).
The Ministry disclosed the details of nine (9) technological projects that are currently being adopted within the frame of “Egypt Digital Justice Project” aiming to upgrade the Egyptian judicial system. In addition, the Minister of Justice issued the Ministerial Decree No. 8548 of 2020 regulating the registration in the electronic registry for litigation before economic courts (the “Decree”).
The Decree was issued in order to activate the legislative amendments adopted by the Law No. 146 of 2019 amending the Economic Courts Law No. 120 of 2008 (the “Economic Courts Law”) with regards to the procedures for filing and initiating lawsuits remotely before the economic courts.
The Decree stipulated that a unified electronic registry for economic courts (the “Court’s Electronic Registrar”) shall be established to register the chosen electronic address of the entities and persons wishing to obtain the electronic litigation service in order to notify them with all the procedures of the lawsuits filed electronically.
Furthermore, the Decree emphasized that the state or any public legal person, local and foreign companies or any private legal person and law firms must register their chosen electronic domicile (e.g., email address) with the Court’s Electronic Registrar, as stipulated the Economic Courts Law. Also, natural persons shall have the right to register themselves with the Court’s Electronic Registrar.
Moreover, the Decree also entailed a list of all the documents that shall be required in order to register with the Court’s Electronic Registrar (the “Required Documents”). The Required Documents include copies of the national ID card for natural persons and/or the legal representatives of legal persons, and a certificate verifying the electronic signature of the applicant in accordance with the Electronic Signature Law No. 15 of 2004.
Also, additional documents shall be submitted along with the Required Documents according to the nature of each applicant, including, inter alia, ministries, governmental entities, banks, Egyptian companies, foreign companies and law firms (the “Additional Documents”).
It is worth noting that the chosen electronic domicile can be modified provided submitting the Required Documents along with the Additional Documents stipulated in the registration for the first time.
Once the electronic domicile is registered in the Court Electronic Registrar; any notice sent to the said electronic domicile shall be deemed effective from the date of its dispatch. However, the parties to a dispute may agree on another chosen electronic domicile.
Finally, we hope that the abovementioned nine (9) projects will be activated on a wide scale in the near future and to include all sort of services which should exempt the parties from appearing in courts and linking law firms electronically to all courts and procuratorates to obtain procedural and administrative services by electronic signature and online payment.