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Lawyers, litigants lament impact of COVID-19 on court proceedings

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By Harris Emanuel, Uyo

Lawyers and litigants in Akwa Ibom State have complained that the novel  COVID-19 pandemic has led to delay in the dispensation of Justice.

Vanguard Correspondent who visited some courts in Uyo, the state capital, gathered that only few cases are slated in the Court list for hearing in a particular day.

Litigants also bemoaned that their means of incomes have dwindled which makes it difficult for them to pay their counsels’ legal fees, which invariable have affected the incomes of lawyers.

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The courts are adhering to the COVID-19 protocols, in terms of social distancing, wearing of face masks and provision of water, soap and sanitisers.

For instance, a court clerk ensures that everyone wears their face masks immediately the court is about to sit and there are some courts that the Judges personally supervise social distancing in the sitting arrangements.

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A lawyer, Kingsley Eton said, “sometimes, you put on appearance for clients and after the appearance, they will tell you that they don’t have the appearance fees to pay. In that case, the pandemic has also affected the income of lawyers.

“ We used to have many cases in the court list, but right now, we only have three or four which have led to court cases being prolonged and because of the protocols, cases are reduced. “

Also speaking in the same vein, Aniefiok Utuk said “a situation where the court does not sit regularly affects the lawyer that goes to court to litigate their clients’ cases. So, it affects the profession. It has exerted a heavy toll on the lawyers and cases.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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