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Lagos CJ charges lawyers to aid success of remote court hearing

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo |   02 June 2020   |   3:37 am  

Stakeholders brainstorm on practice direction

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba has charged senior lawyers to assist the juniors to get facilities that will help them participate in a virtual court hearing.

The CJ said in doing that, it would help them to understand the methodology of virtual hearing. 

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Following the development, the stakeholders are brainstorming on ‘Remote Hearing Practice Directive’ 

The CJ disclosed this at a virtual summit organised by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Commercial Regulatory and Investment Disputes, best practice (CRID-Law Net) and Justice Reform Project (JRP).

He said that once counsel in large number is able to latch on to the methodology of virtual hearing, others will follow. “If a citizen doesn’t have a compliant phone or gadget to partake in this kind of hearing, the lawyer can call him to his chambers and both of them can be together, at least he will be able to latch on to the facility of the lawyer and then the proceeding can go on. We all have to put hands on deck for the success of this project,” he said.

The senior lawyer who anchored the programme, Mr. Tunde Fagbohunlu (SAN) said virtual summit orgnised for a stakeholder to discuss remote hearing practice directive enacted by the Chief judge would be applicable to time-bound cases filed during the period of COVID -19 pandemic.

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“It is for stakeholders to brainstorm on way to ensure an effective and efficient administration of justice system during and after Covid-19 with the experience put in place with the use of technology,” he said.

In attendance aside CJ is Justice Hakeem Oshodi, the President of CRID-Law Net, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Mrs Funke Agbor (SAN), Olasupo Shasore (SAN), Mrs Miannaya Essien (SAN).

It includes Mr. Dan Wilmort from the Law Firm of Stewarts in the United Kingdom, the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) and President of Lagos Chambers of Commerce, Mrs Toki Mabogunje.

Speaking on why the summit was organised, Lagos AG, Onigbanjo said the Lagos Ministry of Justice wants to make sure the pandemic does not ground or paralyse the administration of justice in the state.

He said: “We recognise the time we are in and we feel that it is incumbent upon us to ensure that this pandemic does not ground or paralyse the administration of justice.” 

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He noted that the safety of people who go to court is paramount, which led to issuing the practice directive by the CJ, adding it was the first in Nigeria to deal with the remote sitting of courts. “I believe that it’s going to be the only platform available for the practice of law safely until a vaccine is discovered to treat the COVID -19,” he said. 

However, president of CRID-Law Net, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) said, CRID-Law Net is a non-advocacy group that promote and advance best practices in the resolution of commercial disputes. 

His word: “The flagship of this project is the administration of Civil Justice bill. The bill has been introduced to a number of states in the federation but particular, Ekiti State has however been taken the lead by enacting the bill into law in 2019.

“The Attorney General of the Federation is currently looking into the bill.  We are hopeful that it will soon be introduced to the National Assembly. We are looking forward to Attorney General of Lagos State adopting and enacting it into law.”

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