The Malaysian Government is expanding the scope and capacity of digital services in its courts, following an increase in users.

The US$7.6 million upgrade will include a new mobile app for lawyers, online service for citizens to take part in public auctions, and an expanded online case filing service.

Lawyers can already file civil cases online at eight courts, and the ongoing project will expand e-filing to criminal cases in 20 locations in the country.

The new app will let lawyers file and manage criminal cases from anywhere. Cases can now only be accessed on desktop computers.

A new service will let citizens take part in public court auctions online – something that is now done manually at courts.

“Having bidding online would increase its integrity and transparency, and remove manipulation and abuse present in the manual bidding system. It would also speed up debt recovery,” said Tun Arifin Zakaria, Malaysia’s Chief Justice, according to The Star.

Malaysia will also link the online courts system to 14 other agencies in the government, including the Royal Malaysian Police, Road Transport Department, Immigration Department, National Registration Department, Insolvency Department, Prisons Department and Land Office.

The changes will be completed by July 2017. An initial release this year will “address the current storage capacity and performance challenges currently faced by the courts”, according to Omnesti, the company building the system.

Online case filing was first introduced in 2009, but the service is now not able to keep up with the rising number of users.

Image by Senado Federal, licensed under CC BY 2.0