The ECOWAS Court of Justice, on 10th June 2024, inaugurated its sensitisation and training programme for lawyers from member states on the new Electronic Case Management System (ECMS). This event is taking place in Lomé, Togo, from June 10 – 13, 2024.

The main objective of this programme is the sensitisation and training of lawyers and government agents from ECOWAS member states on the use of the new electronic filing and case management system.

In his opening address, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Togo for their warm welcome. He also acknowledged the participation of distinguished guests and participants attending in-person and online.

Justice Asante highlighted the importance of this programme, recalling that the ECOWAS Court of Justice was established under the Lagos Treaty of 1975 and became operational in 2001. He emphasised the Court’s central role in interpreting and applying Community legal texts and protecting human rights since 2005.

He noted that in response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Court accelerated its transition towards digitalisation of judicial procedures by adopting practical guidelines for electronic case management and virtual hearings. Among the notable innovations are electronic filing of documents, electronic service of notices of registration and the holding of virtual hearings.

President Asante stated that the ECMS, currently being deployed, represents a significant advancement in the modernisation of the Court’s judicial processes. Furthermore, it aims to make the Court more accessible and efficient by allowing lawyers to file documents, receive notifications, and attend virtual hearings via a secure web interface, he added.

Justice Asante observed that the Lomé programme is the first step in a series of three sensitisation and training events, with sessions planned to hold in Accra, Ghana, for anglophone lawyers, and Praia, Cape Verde, for lusophone lawyers. He noted that these initiatives aim to equip legal practitioners with the necessary knowledge to use the ECMS effectively.

The President of the Court encouraged all participants to fully engage in this programme, stressing that the adoption of the ECMS marks a crucial step in improving access to justice and efficiency of judicial procedures within the ECOWAS region.