Dubai Public Prosecution lauded for file-tracking system

Programme uses electronic tag to ensures that case files will be processed faster and more securely.

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DUBAI // The Dubai Public Prosecution has been lauded as an "exemplar" at the sixth International Association of Prosecutors regional conference for its introduction of a system to track court files. The Mutaba'a programme uses an electronic tag to keep tabs on a document's location. Officials say the system ensures that judicial case files will be processed faster and more securely.

The system will be in place in the next six weeks, according to the advocate general, Khalifa bin Deemas, and the director of the Dubai Public Prosecution's information technology department, Abdullah al Merri. "The loss of any item related to a case can be detrimental to the flow of justice," said the Dubai Attorney General Issam al Humaidan. "Our duty is to ensure the rights and freedoms of all parties involved are met and respected. Therefore we have implemented this system." Mutaba'a, which means "tracking," uses a tag on each case file that the system then can track. Using the tags, computers can monitor the location, and limit or even restrict access to the case file anywhere in the court building. Judicial case files contain original documents, contracts, evidence, testimonies and notes. The court does not accept non-original documents, therefore their loss could have heavy implications for a case. "We have developed this system with the same company that provided the technology for the Salik [toll] system," said Mr al Merri. The process starts when a case file is registered and a reader logs the file into the system. The system is monitored by a control room that follows and tracks the movements, additions and use of all case files. After the case file is registered, the chief prosecutor can set privileges and assignments regarding who can handle the file, where it can be taken and which prosecutor is investigating it. Alarms sound if a file is taken to a location where it is not supposed to be, or if the file handler is standing in a hallway with it. If a case file is left for longer than usual at a prosecutor's office a notification system alerts the prosecutor via telephone informing him that the file has been neglected. The Dubai Public Prosecution has already installed a paperless electronic system, which will eventually lead to fully paperless communications between the Public Prosecution and the courts . On average, a case is investigated within seven days at Dubai Public Prosecution because of new applications like the e-filing system, remote case-file access and the electronic investigation system run by the prosecutor's office. The senior advocate general Yousif al Mutawa said that a completely electronic system would revolutionise the way cases are handled by both prosecutors and the courts.