Prior to the enactment of the Evidence Act 2011, it was contentious to tender an electronic mail, as the rules of hearsay most often than not stood as a brick wall against its admissibility.
Following the enactment of the Evidence Act, 2011 and the global trend towards a digital economy, the Supreme Court of Nigeria on February 2, 2018 launched an electronic mailing system and gave an ultimatum of July 18, 2018 as the last date for filing physical court processes at the Supreme Court.
The mailing system will amongst other things enable litigants and opposing parties file and serve their processes online without necessarily visiting the Supreme Court. Although this initiative is perceived by analysts as late in the day, considering technological advancements around the world, the Supreme Court E-mail Communication System (SECS) is a good initiative and a step in the right direction for the Nigerian judicial system.
The SECS will amongst other things;
- Ease communication system between the bar and the bench;
- Reduce paperwork and incidental cost; and
- Speed up the court process and thereby improve the administration of justice
Although the SECS is a major milestone, the Nigerian judicial system is still far from where it should be. Electronic mail services are probably the most basic of the several other components of the information and communication technology infrastructure that must be employed in the administration of justice. These other components include a digitized document management system, case management software, electronic payment platforms, electronic and virtual libraries, video conferencing facilities, efficient and effective internet and intranet services.
In conclusion, we note that at date the SECS is yet to be operational, we applaud the Supreme Court’s innovation and hope other competent courts of record will toe this line.