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Lagos judiciary to impose sanction on lawyers for delaying trials

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Henry Ojelu

LAGOS—THE Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, yesterday, vowed that lawyers, who are in the habit of delaying trial, will no longer have their days in the state judiciary as she promised that lawyers who engage in frivolous activities may lose their practicing licence.

Justice Oke said no frivolous adjournment would be granted anymore to lawyers, as she noted the authorities of the state judiciary is set to review its Civil Procedure Rules 2012 to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

File: Lawyers

She said this at a summit in Lagos, to review the 2012 Civil Procedure Rules.
She said: “We need to take firmer position particularly on adjournments. In Singapore, adjournment is only allowed on matter of life and death. Things we tolerate here are not tolerated in America and UK. Why can’t we replicate those rules in our court rules in Nigeria if it will hasten justice delivery?”

Justice Oke emphasised the need to always review the court rules to suit socio-economic demands and for laws in the state to remain sound, active and functional.
Oke equally pointed out that court congestion has been a major problem in the justice sector, adding, henceforth, adjournment will no longer be granted on unnecessary applications.

The Chairman of the Civil Procedures Rules Committee, Justice Kazeem Alogba, giving insight into the proposed review already carried out, disclosed that any lawyer who scuttled any trial date will pay a minimum fine of N100,000.00 and N50,000 in the case of an interlocutory application for which a date has been fixed for hearing.

Justice Alogba said non- compliance with Form 01 on Pre-Action Protocol will render the process a nullity in addition to ‘serious punishment’.

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He also stated for instance that where a matter is left in the docket of a judge, six months after commencement of trial, the matter will be summarily struck out.

Earlier, the Chairman of the event, Justice Williams Dawodu, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, commended Lagos Judiciary for setting the pace by coming up with new rules that can be replicated by other States and comparable in other jurisprudence of the world.

She said: “We want to ensure that the rules in Lagos State continue to be functional and for them to be functional, they must adapt to changes in the society.”

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