Imagine or remember your legal internship. Your day probably was something like this;
Woke up before the sun was up probably by 4am or 5am depending on how long your daily
commute was and really if you gave a damn about time management.
I am making a note of the time management factor because as a country it is something we completely seem oblivious
to. Hell, at bare minimum, online meetings either start 30 minutes to an hour later.
Anyway, so you make it to your choice of transportation, for most of us that would be
a taxi, spent around 1 to 2 hours in commute to work, other factors like rain and traffic jam
considered. Please have it in mind that at this point in time you have already spent 3 to 4 hours
doing all the above.
You are probably at the office by around 7am to 9am. Then the crunching begins with you
getting assignments from the senior lawyers and associates, a lot of it is along the lines of, “ I
want you to go do research on this legal principle and find me precedent that backs up the said legal
principle, while you are at it find all the necessary legislation on the topic blah blah blah….”
If you are unfortunate, (we all usually are) before you barely make it halfway through the above legal research assignment, another senior lawyer/ associate or even the same senior lawyer will assign you another completely different assignment, say draft pleadings for so and so. And its urgent. Everything is always urgent and needs to be given priority.
Anyway, so you switch guns to the most urgent in your urgent workload and start drafting the
pleadings ever so careful to cite all the relevant legislations and where needed you do the necessary
research to confirm that you are citing up to date legislations and authorities.
In this era, the electronic libraries are your companion, it’s no wonder that now you have enough tabs open
and running in the background that fall easily into the category a sane person would define as a bit of an over kill.
There is that one tiny little detail that is missing, you have searched everywhere online and have failed to find it. So you go to the firm library, after looking through a few books (by a few books literally I mean going through a whole bookshelf) or worse; you have to make a physical in person trip to the high court library and collect this critical information.
The in-person library trip is a necessity because either you don’t have the online legal subscription to access the
information online or the usual, specific Ugandan legislations, bills and cases are only available in hard copy.
The in person trip to the library is not the issue, per say, for as a legal intern, I mean a large part of your job any way is to move up and down the whole city and country dropping off legal documents and what not. The issue is the time spent to and from this in person trip to the library factoring in things like traffic.
Remember these drafts need to be received by senior counsel, a few or a lot of alterations may be made depending on the quality of the draft you delivered and everything has to be filed the same day by 5pm and you also need to go to the police station to pick up a police report.
Maybe your in person trip yields results and you got the information you needed. By now you have made peace with the fact that you have failed to meet the set deadline of the day and hence have to file the next day, statutory limitations aside obviously. Repercussions from senior counsel for failing to file at the end of the day is the least of your worries at this point.
Anyway, you choose to stay in late in the office working and reacting to the few or a lot of comments senior counsel made on the draft you submitted at 4pm. By 9pm you clock out for the day. Make your daily commute home and when you get home you continue working on your laptop until your body gives out. Your days replay on and on almost in this similar manner.
Now imagine, instead of having to make the in-person trip to the high court library you can simply go onto an online user interface, type into the search bar what exactly you are looking for and you actually get it and the online user interface is free, no subscription fees needed.
No more in person trips to the bank to pay legal filing fees and worry about if what you paid is the right fee. All this can be done using the online user interface as well as filing the case electronically from anywhere, hell you can even file the case when you are still in bed wondering if law was the right career decision.
Ladies and gentlemen, this user interface is called the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS) and it will go live at the beginning of the new law year of 2022.
ECCMIS promises accessibility via any digital devices by providing services like case filings, payments, automated reminders and free access to summons and judgements, automated information of appeal deadlines, online case summons and orders, electronic office management for court staff and so much more.
Whether ECCMIS delivers on its promises to you is a conversation we shall have another day.