Online regional conference “Digitisation of the Judiciary, Electronic Legal Transactions and Data Protection”

Morocco and Algeria

The consulting services offered by the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) in the area of digitisation of the judiciary are being steadily expanded for partner countries in Africa. This is the context in which the IRZ, together with the justice ministries of Morocco and Algeria, held an online regional conference on 24 May 2022 on the subjects of “Digitisation of the Judiciary, Electronic Legal Transactions and Data Protection”. The event represents the continuation of previous successful cooperation with Morocco.

The focus was on the legal and organisational bases for the expansion of e-justice, practical aspects of electronic exchanging of legal documents, remote proceedings and digital witness examination, as well as the (security-related) technical challenges of digital judiciary with regard to compliance with standards for data protection and data security.

Around 80 people in total from Morocco and Algeria joined in, highlighting the great interest in this hot topic.

From the German side the following experts took part:

  • Philipp Scholz, Federal Ministry of Justice, Head of Department D B 3 - Legal Tech and Access to the Law
  • Nadine Borutta, judicial employee of the Central IT Service Provider for the Judiciary (ITSP) of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

The partner countries Morocco and Algeria were represented by:

  • Mustafa Ait Laraik, Ministry of Justice of Morocco, Head of the Department for International Cooperation
  • Mohamed Attou, Ministry of Justice of Algeria, Head of the Judiciary’s Training and Information Unit
  • Mustafa Moudjadj, Ministry of Justice of Algeria, Head of the Planning and Organisation Unit
  • Halima Katir, Expert at the Ministry of Justice of Morocco

For the ministries of justice of Morocco and Algeria, the expansion of digitisation of the judiciary is a priority in their current judicial reform projects. The objectives of the digitisation measures are to increase the efficiency of the judiciary and improve access to it for those seeking legal recourse. In Algeria’s case this aspect is particularly important due to the great distances within the country.

In both states big steps have been made in recent years in setting up the technical infrastructure and in networking the courts and authorities, as well as in the practical implementation of electronic legal transactions. The online services already offered in both countries in the area of the judiciary (for example when requesting documents) are widely used by citizens. However, in individual areas an adjustment of the relevant legal bases is still necessary, for example with regard to carrying out virtual hearings.

Also of particular interest for the participants were issues related to data protection and data security in electronic legal transactions (for example verifying e-signatures), as well as practical experience of the use of legal tech-tools in everyday legal work.