Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023

Riyadh’s justice conference discusses judicial digital transformation 

The judicial system needs to keep pace with accelerating changes and take its opportunities to improve and develop, Saudi Arabia’s minister of justice said on Sunday.
Walid Al-Samaani was speaking at the International Conference on Justice, which is being held at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton.

Themed “Enhancing Access to Justice through the Use of Digital Technologies,” the two-day conference will see the participation of 50 international experts and over 4,000 guests across a number of sessions.

“The conference aims to build justice partnerships to transfer experiences and exchange procedures … especially with regard to technical support and reinforcement of judicial and legal guarantees,” said Al-Samaani.

He added that the Kingdom’s legal sector seeks “to raise efficiency of judicial procedures” while working with international experts.

“The country aims to develop all sectors, including the justice sector, through transforming digital consultations and launching initiatives … that reflect justice, transparency, and values.”

Al-Samaani said that it is natural for humans to fear the rise of technology in our lives.

“The change in digital transformation is a reality. What is an option now, after five years, will not be an option.”

However, Al-Samaani explained, technology cannot replace humans or human thinking regardless of its advancement.

Rahayu Mahzam — a senior parliamentary secretary for law and health in Singapore, appearing in place of Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Singapore’s minister for home affairs and law — agreed with Al-Samaani.

“What it (technology) cannot showcase is meaningful interaction, assessment of lawyers, the legal analysis which comes from humans,” Mahzam said. “That human input will always be necessary, especially in the legal system, because we're talking about engagement.”

Bostjan Skrlec, vice president of the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, discussed the protection of personal data, which is very high on the agenda of judicial cooperation within the EU.

He also stressed the importance of trust within countries when it comes to technology in future.

“A dialogue will enable us to build trust. We need to talk to each other. We need to explain the reasons. We need to understand the legal provisions and this will enable us to find vision,” he said.

“There is no magic formula. The role is always difficult. It has also been within the EU where we have, you could say, very similar systems. But still it took us 20 years to develop to the stage that we are today, where we can exchange the tools of mutual corporations in a blink of an eye,” he added.

Saudi lawyer Reem Arif, during her presentation, stated that “artificial intelligence has already been transforming the justice system throughout the world.

“All these transformations and all these developments in the name of technology have helped us streamline the judicial process while enhancing decision-making,” said Arif.

During 2022, 95 percent of hearings and 100 percent of mediation sessions in Saudi Arabia were conducted virtually, she revealed.

In the past two years, the Saudi judicial system saw 30 million power of attorneys issued online, and 170 million real estate documents were digitalized.

On the sidelines of the conference, the Judicial Technologies Exhibition is being held for visitors to explore the latest ICT and AI technology in the judicial sector.

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