Discover the Latest Innovations and Lessons Learned in Rule of Law and Legal Empowerment Projects
Creating Legal Documents
A mobile app was created in Malaysia to help people prepare standard legal documents. The pro bono project is being led by attorney Edmund Bon and will be developed by Omesti Group. Documents available through the app will include sales and purchase agreements, wills, divorce petitions, probates, bail applications and mitigation in criminal cases. The application will launch next year. Read more here.
SMS Case Filing System
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, police officers are required to inform the prosecutor’s office and transfer files within 24 hours after receiving a case report on sexual and gender based violence. Due to a variety of challenges in complying with this provision, a new SMS system developed by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative allows prosecutors and police to overcome communication challenges and share information and requests in real time. The new SMS case filing system is already empowering police to investigate pending cases. Prosecutors cite new achievements in collecting additional evidence on sexual violence cases through the SMS reports. In the future, the SMS system will feature a component that enables citizens to directly contact police or prosecutors in the area. Read more here.
Electronic Database & SMS Mechanism for Prison Officials
In Indonesia, the corrections system introduced an electronic database system which allows for a computerized sentence calculation, automated reminders to let officials know when prisoners are eligible for parole or are nearing their release, automatic overstay reminders, and electronic storage of fingerprint information. Authorities have remarked that the efficiency of the new system enables them to access prisoners’ information and cell assignment in real time as opposed to waiting months for reports.
A self-service kiosk allows prisoners to access their own basic files, including their release date, using their fingerprint. The database also incorporates an SMS mechanism where the warden can submit information on the number of inmates, categorized by sex, adult/juvenile, and the type of crime committed. An electronic application will then send this information via SMS to corrections leadership and the Deputy Ministry of Justice. The SMS feature also allows members of government, parliament, media, and the public to access basic demographic information about the prison population. To read more, click here.
SMS System to Improve Mediation Boards
In Sri Lanka, there are over 300 mediation boards and its popularity is growing. Unfortunately, the mountain of information and data resulting from the boards has made it difficult for the Ministry of Justice to track due to a paper-based reporting system. In light of mobile penetration reaching 85% across the country, The Asia Foundation created an SMS system to transmit electronic reports via mobile phones.
Each week, chairs of the mediation board send an SMS to a central database. The SMS is pre-formatted and includes information on the number of disputes, cases resolved, new cases received, and types of disputes. The SMS training for mediators was critical due to varying degrees of familiarity with the technology. Read more here.
Mobile App for Gender-Based Violence Survivors
In India, for every case of rape that is reported, it is estimated that 30 go unreported. Zariya, a mobile app developed by Sahar Khan, enables people to report their grievances and immediately connect with service providers. The app maps out legal, medical, economic, psychological, and police services. By creating a safe space for women, the app enables survivors to challenge the stigma and logistical barriers associated with reporting sexual or domestic violence. Read more here.