Abuja – Some Abuja-based legal practitioners has said that it is unethical for serving judges to comment on national issues.
They made this known in Abuja.
According to them, when a judge reacts to national issue he assumes position and cannot be saddled with any matter that may arise from the issue.
One of the lawyers, Mr Collins Ndubuisi, said that “judges cannot react to national issues because of the sensitive nature of their office.
“When they react to an issue they assume a position in that matter. So, it becomes impossible for them to detach in presiding over such an issue if it is litigated upon.
“When you trace it to the symbol of a woman blind folded with a scale and a sword of justice meaning that she does not look to either side.
“When a judge comment on a national issue the judge become partisan,’’ Ndubuisi said, and adding that it was trite rule that “you can’t be a judge in your own cause. “When judge comment on a national issue he becomes an interested party and thereby disqualified himself from presiding over any dispute that touches on any such issue where he has commented.
Ndubuisi said that judges by adjudicating on disputes plays stabilising role in the polity, adding that they were isolated from politics.
He said in law justice should not only be done but seen to be done and done properly.
“So, if the man sitting in the court leaves the court with the impression that the judge is biased in law that judge will be said to be biased.’’
Another lawyer, Wilson Edet corroborated Ndubuisi and described a judge as umpires who should not take sides in a matter that he was a judge.
“When an umpire or a referee starts reacting or playing game or politics, he ceases to be a good referee because when he presides over such game he would be biased because he is already compromised.
“A judge cannot react to national issues even when he has enough information about the issue by virtue of his office.
“He is to adjudicate and allow fair hearing not to take sides and deprive people that came to seek redress or justice from his court,’’ he said.
Another lawyer, Ms Christie Nwaka, reasoned that a when a judge comments on issues and such issues are brought before him, he is bound to be biased and sentimental.
“This is capable of causing a stir in the nation and that is not good enough for the judiciary system as a whole and justice delivery too,’’ Nwaka said.
Like judges, Mr Ahmed Yusuf, said that it was unethical for lawyers to comment on matters pending in courts.
“It is not good for any lawyer to discuss an issue that is before the court, I mean outside the court.
“The ethics of the profession dictates that you don’t discuss such issues. It is not for media trial but a trial in the court of law,’’ Yusuf said.
Yusuf, however, said that a personal opinion on any issue is quite different from discussing the issue that was before a court.
“On a personal note if you ask me to discuss an issue that is of national interest as it concerns the law, I may have my own opinion that is different from discussing what is before the court.
In his reaction, Mr Joel Ali, a lawyer, shared Yusuf’s views, adding that no one precisely knows the direction the judgment would go.
“It doesn’t speak well of lawyers when they grant interviews to show they are in charge,’’ Ali said/