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Lawyers urged to utilise labour laws

By Onozure Dania

Justice Benedict Kanyip of the National Industrial Court has lamented the low rate at which legal practitioners in the country utilise the Nigeria Labour Law Reports (NLLR) in court as references.

Kanyip, who spoke on “Advancing the Frontiers of Nigerian Law through Law Reporting; Nigerian Labour Law Reports as a case study” at a colloquium on ‘Employment Law and Practice in Nigeria’ organised by Rocheba Solicitors as part of events marking the 50thbirthday of its Principal Partner, Mr. Etteh Enobong.

The Judge who expressed his mind on the low rate of users of the Nigerian Labour Law Reports, said there are abundant landmark decisions from the National Industrial Court, which labour lawyers could rely on in their cases.

He also warned that any labour law practitioner who ignores the Nigerian Labour Law Reports does so at his own disadvantage.

Kanyip said the labour law reports are being neglected for those of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The judge said, “The point I simply wish to make is that the utilization of the Nigerian Labour Law Reports by lawyers has been generally less than satisfactory, especially for a court like the National Industrial Court, which decisions are subject to minimal right of appeal.”

Kanyip said that its publication started in 2004, adding that it is sad that in his day to day interaction with lawyers in the court they hardly make reference to the compiled decisions of the NIC as contained in the Nigeria Labour Law Report.

”I have heard arguments of counsel regarding for instance Section 7 of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, on the ambit of the National Industrial Court jurisdiction over issues relating to labour. The disturbing thing is that even when the National Industrial Court has made pronouncement on what the word labour means for the purpose of jurisdiction, counsel chose not to even refer to such a decision, they preferred to rely on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal cases, even when these cases are of no relevance.”

Also speaking at the event a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Chioma Agomo said the trend was not limited to legal practitioners, but that such is also common among law students and the members of the academia.



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