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Lagos CJ inaugurates panel on delay in cases

Justice Opeyemi Oke

The Chief Judge (CJ) of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke has set Task Force Committee on Old Cases to eradicate delays and decongest the courts. 
   
The CJ disclosed this at a press conference to announce the inauguration of a scheme to clear backlog of old cases in the state.
   
The scheme was tagged, “Court Congestion Project; a Backlog Elimination Programme by the Lagos State Judiciary.”
   
Justice Opeyemi said that there are hosts of lawsuits that have lasted over 20 years before various courts in the state without being resolved.
 
According to her, the probable causes of delay have been chiefly classified into categories: inefficient case management by counsel, court indisposition and interlocutory appeals.

“As at date, a total number of 376 cases at the High Court of Lagos State have been reviewed. 

“Inefficient case management by counsel account for 45 percent; court indisposition and interlocutory appeals account for 20 percent whilst the cause of delay of outstanding 35 percent has been ascribed to other factors, which include numerous indulgent interlocutory applications, court going on national assignments in Election Tribunals and official assignments for conferences and trainings for months.”
   
Others, she stated include Protracted Case Management Conference, Multiplicity of interlocutory applications, long adjournments and trial having to commence de novo when a judge is elevated or retires.
 
She said that 229 of 376 of such cases had been identified for review, adding that lawsuits bordering on land disputes account for 67.5 per cent of the number.
   
In her explanation, the scheme was in collaboration with 14 law firms, which had volunteered to help in the screening of all old cases pending before the courts. Lagos AG Chief Judge promised best in Justice delivery

In a related development, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem has promised that the ministry will continue to give out its best in terms of Justice delivery to its citizens. 
   
Kazeem and the CJ, Justice Oke disclosed this at the three-day management retreat with the theme; ‘Justice Delivery Agenda – Reflection & Projection’ held at Best Western Hotel, Lagos.
   
The retreat organized by the Ministry of Justice to meet with the various head of departments and agency’s under it to deliberate on their challenges and finding lasting solutions to them to move the state forward. 
   
The AG commended all the departments and agencies for a job well-done and also asked for more to move the justice system in the state to an enviable position.  
   
He also used the occasion to ask them to avail him with the challenges they might be facing in carrying out their duties in order to find a lasting solution to it.
   
On behalf of the head’s of directorate and agency, the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General Mrs. Funmilola Odunlami thanked the AG and the CJ for their cooperation and understanding in moving the ministry forward. 

She promised to work together with all the various departments and agencies  to make justice available to residents.

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Justice Opeyemi OkeLagos
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