Draft bill on judicial management system approved


Draft Bill 308/2007 has been approved by the National Assembly of Panama. Under the bill, all judicial procedures will be processed online by means of a judicial management system in order to expedite proceedings.

Each attorney and party will be provided with a username and password in order to access the judicial management system. All claims, legal actions, recourses and applications that are filed with the judicial management system will be distributed to the appropriate jurisdiction by the Registration Entrance Centre, the authority in charge of receiving the relevant documents.

Once a claim is filed, the secretary of the competent court will issue a certificate of presentation. An electronic dossier will be created within the judicial management system in order to register and store all the acts and evidence relevant to the case. Judicial resolutions within the dossier will be signed electronically by the trial judge and the secretary of the court. All dossiers will be protected by a security code and stored electronically in order to guarantee the preservation and the integrity of the data.

All documents in an electronic dossier must be digitalized. Once digitalized, the documents may be retrieved from the court within a period of five working days. They will be destroyed after expiry of this period. Physical evidence will be received by the Registration Entrance Centre; it will then be digitalized and filed by the Dossier Custody Centre, the authority in charge of the conservation of evidence.

Evidence submitted in support of a petition may be digitalized and sent electronically to the judicial management system. However, in order to be validated, the evidence must be filed physically before the competent court within a period of two working days from the date following the date on which the evidence was sent electronically. Hearings will be recorded, included in the electronic dossier and loaded into the judicial management system. Criminal hearings will be recorded by video.

Claims, actions and recourses may be filed at any time and will be considered to be timely if they are filed by 23:59:59 on the last day of the deadline.

Resolutions will be notified when:

  • counsel for the parties or the parties themselves consult the resolution in the judicial management system; or

  • a period of 10 working days from the date following the date on which the resolution was issued has expired.

The draft bill was approved by the National Assembly of Panama on December 4 2007, but is awaiting the approval of the president in order to become law. The courts in charge of IP matters will be the first to apply the new system.

Verónica Sinisterra Bernal, Bufete Candanedo, Panama

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