Launching the first phase of family courts and prosecution automation project in Luxor

Oct 30, 2016

A woman following up on her case at the legal aid office in Luxor governorate. Fatma Elzahraa Yassin/UNDP Egypt

Under the auspices of His Excellency Minister of Justice Counselor Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rehem, Deputy Minister for Specialized Courts Counselor Ahmed Khairy, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr. El-Mostafa Benlamlih, representatives of Ministries of Communications and Information Technology, International Cooperation and National Council for Women, visited the legal aid office at the family court in Luxor governorate and launched the first phase of the automation of family courts and family prosecution project.

This visit represents one of the major activities planned for the fourth phase (2016-2017) of the “Support to Legal Aid and Dispute Settlement in Family Courts” project. This project is implemented by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with support from the Government of Sweden. Automation is considered one of the leading project components which aims to strengthen the operational efficiency of family courts and family prosecution. It also improves information extraction and consequently the delivery of legal assistance to thousands of citizens especially the most vulnerable.

The project aims to establish legal aid offices in family courts to provide free legal advice and assistance in several fields most notably alimony and inheritance laws. This in turn strengthens means of effective justice in family courts. The project has established 19 offices during the period (2008-2016), out of a total of 39 offices established by the Ministry of Justice in several governorates across Egypt and which supported 490 thousand cases.

In light of the importance of enhancing the operational efficiency of family courts and family prosecution, the automation of the family court system started in 2014 in partnership with the Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. During this phase, the project will complete the automation of three courts namely; Heliopolis, Luxor, Aswan, in addition to connecting family courts with Nasser Bank to facilitate women’s access to alimony.

Implementing automation within the judicial system guarantees service delivery, improves streamlining of procedures and provides databases for family courts and family prosecution. In addition, it provides protection, safety and privacy for citizens’ lawsuits, and improves the performance of judges, prosecutors and employees. Furthermore, it increases access to information and documents, enhances the efficiency of applications and databases and improves performance through rolling-out automation of family prosecution across the country.

Automation will also help provide services from all the governorates, and achieve integration with all the government entities such as courts, notary, and Nasser Bank. This integration is achieved through networking among family prosecution, dispute settlement offices and legal aid offices to expedite procedures related to litigation processes.

In light of the strategy adopted by the Ministry of Justice to respond to the needs of the family courts which are overloaded with family lawsuits, the project has started developing the 2017 annual work plan which includes the establishment of 4 additional legal aid offices in Giza, Sharqia, Gharbya and the Red Sea. This aims to provide legal aid services to all citizens across Egypt, especially poor women. Additionally, it ensures a continuous partnership with the public prosecution, represented by the Prosecution Information Center, and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, in an effort to roll-out and upgrade automation and networking within the family courts system.

His Excellency Adel Fahmy, Deputy Minister for Cultural and International Cooperation Affairs, His Excellency Omar Hafiz, Deputy Minister for the National Center Judicial Studies Affairs, His Excellency Adel El Nashar, Deputy Minister for Communications and House of Representatives Affairs, His Excellency Samir Kamel Guirguis, Public Lawyer and Head of the Public Prosecution’s International Cooperation Office in the, His Excellency Yasser El Sayed, Head of Prosecution Information Center, and Ms. Gehan Al Batoty, Head of Legal Aid Offices Department, have attended the visit.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Fatma Elzahraa Yassin, Communications Analyst at fatma.yassin@undp.org