Why Lagos lawyers must resist new policy on remote court proceedings—Akinlade


Lagos lawyer, Bayo Akinlade has dismissed as unfortunate the latest policy by Lagos State judiciary on virtual court hearing, saying lawyers practicing in the state must resist it.

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Olanrewaju Alogba had announced that all virtual proceedings will henceforth attract a fee of N30,000 (Thirty Thousand Naira Only) per session.

In a circular from the Office of the Chief Registrar of the state high court, Justice Alogba specifically said the new policy takes effect from April 1, 2024.

But reacting, Mr. Akinlade said the policy is anti-people and should be shot down.

His words: “it seems that the Nigerian people have no reprieve from all their sufferings and the Judiciary is no longer the Last Hope of the Common Man.”

“We have had enough time to make virtual hearings the norm while physical appearances in open court should have taken a back seat.

“In the light of the current power supply issues bedeviling the Judiciary in Lagos State and the high cost of fuel and food prices, and the recent measures taken by the Lagos State Government requiring civil servants to only come to work 3 to 4 times a week, one would think that the managers of the Justice Sector would be more innovative in their approach to issues of great importance such as the economic conditions of Citizens

“With Lagos State Judges and Magistrates facing inadequate court rooms where some can’t sit for more than 3 days a week or work for more than 5 Hours a day due to lack of Electricity supply, one would think VIRTUAL HEARINGS would be a viable, less expensive, effective and efficient alternative but unfortunately our colleagues on the BENCH have weaponized the very thing that would have put less burden on our Judges, Lawyers and Litigants.

“I have observed the Virtual Hearing infrastructure and services of the Lagos State Judiciary for some time now and I can only wonder who in the world are the Judiciary taking advice from because we know that the Judiciary within its ranks have very little internal expertise regarding technology to be able to counter any external suggestions that may be self-serving and may not meet the ends of Justice the citizens are hoping for.

“I will not say more on this but it is clear that the Judiciary has only put a prize tag on virtual hearings but has not shown any capacity to make it efficient, effective and sustainable

“The Bar should not be silent on this. Senior Advocates of Nigeria in Lagos State should take up this challenge and show citizens why they deserve the rank/title and stand up for the common man,” the statement added.

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