Three AACC Sec-Gens Deliver Presentations at the Sixth International Short Course of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) on Thursday, August 10, 2023 talked about “Democracy, Digital Transformation, and Judicial Independence”
In the first session of the AACC Short Course, Secretary-General Heru Setiawan delivered a presentation on “Digital Transformation in the Judicial Review Procedure at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia.” He explained that since the beginning, the Constitutional Court has been determined to become a modern court by continuously implementing and developing innovations to optimize the utilization of information, communications, and technology (ICT).
“Undeniably, the use of ICT has become a main driving force for modern institutions such as the Constitutional Court, especially digital transformation in judicial review procedure,” he said.
He explained that the digital transformation in the Constitutional Court will produce legal documents out of legal analysis transformed by technology that to be able to process, store, and display legal principles in its decisions into a digital legal literacy that is integrated into a comprehensive legal literacy. To produce comprehensive legal literacy and to provide transparency on case handling, legal analysis must be carried out since case submission online or at the Court’s counter. Thus, at every stage of case handling and in hearings in the Court, legal documents will be produced and analyzed legally to produce legal literacy for the cases.
Heru asserted that digital transformation in judicial review procedure in the Constitutional Court is a necessity in strengthening support in the important phase in case handling, i.e. when the constitutional justices draft a decision after obtaining sufficient information through hearings that is open to the public. Digital transformation in the judicial review procedure in this phase is an important way of realizing-fully supported substantive in creating just and legally-certain decisions.
In the second session, Secretary-General Murat Sen of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Türkiye explained that the effects of digital transformation on democratic society can be evaluated from three different perspectives within the constitutional and human rights framework. The first of these is the strengthening of the right of access to the courts on the basis of the rule of law, which is one of the most important building blocks of democracy. The second is to facilitate the exercise of freedoms, which is another pillar of democratic societies. On the other hand, digitalization also has a negative impact on democracies. Threats to the security of personal data, especially in the context of the right to respect for private life, and misinformation through social media threaten the free decision-making of individuals and make democracies vulnerable to manipulation.
He mentioned that in Türkiye we had already passed laws on the digitalization of our justice system long before COVID-19. Indeed, one of the most important projects in the practice of law in Türkiye are the recent introduction of the National Judiciary Informatics System (“UYAP”) and the Audio-Visual Information System (“SEGB?S”). However, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly accelerated the process of strengthening the right of access to court. For example, during the period of lockdown, there was almost systematic recourse to remote hearings, with certain exceptions such as for requests for interim measures or arrest and detention, as well as the opening of proceedings and accompanying documents via the Internet, which were made possible through the introduction of new information technology systems adapted to the judiciary.
The next speaker, Secretary-General of both the Constitutional Court of Korea and the AACC Secretariat for Research and Development (AACC SRD) Jongmun Park revealed that his Court has undertaken a project on intelligent Constitutional Court system. “To provide easy access and search of our Court’s case law for the general public, who are not legal experts, we have built a service that utilizes intelligent technology to enable users to search case information not only in legal terms but also in everyday language and sentence structures. Furthermore, in response to the pandemic, we have built a video conference room and a video conferencing system, facilitating non-face-to-face video conferencing and video trials,” he explained.
In addition, the Court has established the Korean-English constitutional justice glossary, which allow users to make suggestions and contribute to the development of translations for technical terms in the field of constitutional justice. He believed digital transformation, summed up as “innovation from analog to digital,” profoundly impacts people’s lives, and these changes was evident in the Republic of Korea.
The third session of this short course was concluded by Muhidin, Chief Registrar of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia MKRI. He said it was part of the celebration of the MKRI’s twentieth anniversary aimed at building a synergy of insights to, hopefully, be implemented in the participants’ respective countries and institutions. He hoped that cooperation would continue to develop through such exchange of information.
He also said that through the short course the MKRI also learned from the presenters and participants of the need for democracy, digital transformation, and judicial independence in judicial practices.
“Our democracy has given all citizens voice and rights to participate in decision-making processes. However, the Constitutional Court cannot work alone. There must be collaboration between the judiciary and technology to improve freedom, equality, and justice for all,” he said.
He also added that amid rapid technological advances, we cannot underestimate the importance of digital transformation, of which the Constitutional Court must be at the forefront. It must utilize technology to improve accessibility, transparency, and efficiency of the judiciary. “[We must] use digital innovation to ensure that justice reaches the nooks and cranny of our nation, bridges gaps, and promote inclusivity,” he emphasized.