THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE LAGOS STATE GOLDEN JUBILEE 2017/2018 LEGAL YEAR BAR & BENCH INTERACTIVE FORUM HELD ON THE 10TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2017 AT THE FOYER, HIGH COURT OF LAGOS STATE, IGBOSERE, LAGOS at 10:00A.M.

OPENING:

The forum is aimed at committing Lagos State Judiciary to productivity and sustaining her role as pace setter in the Nigerian Judiciary.

The interactive session is also to assist the implementation of resolutions reached at the Stakeholders’ meeting held earlier this year towards improving justice delivery system in Lagos State.

The programme had in attendance the Acting Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State and Honourable Judges of the Lagos State High Court, Magistrates, the Honourable Attorney General, and members of the inner and outer bar. The Acting Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State. Hon. Justice O.O Oke re-instated her Lordship’s mission and vision for the Lagos State Judiciary as follows:

MISSION:
A Judiciary that epitomizes discipline, honesty, hard work, integrity, credence, dignity, honour and zeal for results and excellence.

VISION:
To create a truly independent and empowered branch of government by providing a fair and responsive system of justice committed to excellence. To uphold the rule of law, stamp out all forms of official corruption, make speedy dispensation of justice a hallmark of Lagos State Judiciary and improve on the reputation of Lagos State Judiciary as a pace setter and the best in Nigeria and Africa.

To improve public access, transparency and accountability so as to boost the confidence of the public in Lagos State Judiciary. To improve the training and welfare of Judicial Officers and staff of Lagos State Judiciary and position the Judiciary as a partner in improving quality of professional legal training in
Lagos.

The Honourable Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem on his part, stated that His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State is passionate about Justice Sector Reforms in the state and promised to do his best to improve the sector under his watch.

BODY:
The Keynote Address was delivered by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN titled: “PROMOTING A PACE-SETTING AND PRODUCTIVE JUDICIARY IN LAGOS STATE”

In the said address, he stated that Lagos State Judiciary is the hub of the Nigerian Judiciary.

His address took an historical perspective wherein he chronicled the appointments of past Chief Judges in Lagos State since 1967. He also traced the genesis of the legal year celebration as well as annual vacation for Judges.

In his paper, the following issues were suggested as tools towards achieving a productive Judiciary:

● The Chief Judge should put in place a marshal plan to address issues that may impede the productivity of the Judiciary in Lagos State.

● Bearing in mind that Registrars, Court clerks, Bailiffs, Messengers, Commissioner for oaths and other support staffs are the hands and legs of the Judiciary, retreats and refresher courses should be constantly organised to enhance their productivity.

● Disciplinary measures must be taken against erring support staffs.

● There should be no interregnum in the appointment of Chief Judges in Lagos State. The process of appointment of successive Chief Judges should be initiated early enough.

● Appointment of more judges to ease the workload of judges in Lagos State He stated further that Judges are not remembered for their ceremonial roles but for the profound and illuminating judgments that speak long after retirement. He also enjoined them to sit promptly.

In reacting to the Keynote Address both the Bench and the Bar made the following remarks:
● The Bar and Bench have a symbiotic relationship which should be sustained.

● The review of the Oath Law to ensure that witnesses/deponents who lie on oath are brought to book.

● Counsels should be informed ahead of time if the court would not sit.

● Lawyers should desist from media trial of cases.

● Lawyers should desist from writing frivolous petitions against Judges.

● Filing of frivolous applications by Counsels should be discouraged.

● Lawyers and Litigants should stop approaching the office of the DPP over civil and contractual cases masquerading them as Criminal cases.

● There should be a mechanism for measuring standards and adherence to rules of court.

● The Magistracy as the bedrock of the Judiciary should be standardized; this would help to reduce the work load of Judges in Lagos State.

● Erring Legal Practitioners should be referred to the NBA disciplinary committee promptly.

CONCLUSION: The Honourable Acting Chief Judge in reacting to the contributions of both the Bar and Bench, appreciated the existing relationship between the Bar and the Bench and enjoined both sides to sustain same. The HCJ in addition stated the following:

● There will be speedy dispensation of justice

● There would be zero tolerance for corruption.

● The courts now have Lawyers as Registrars.

● An end would be put to delays and frustrations experienced by Lawyers at the probate registry.

● The increment in filing fees would be looked into.

● The committee for the 2018 Rules of Court has been set up and is chaired by Hon. Justice K Alogba.

● An “APP” will be introduced which can be installed to enable Counsels have access to the diary of the court.

● Members of the bar who are trained mediators would be invited to sit as mediators (pro bono) on old cases so as to decongest the courts.

Recognising the importance of a robust feedback mechanism, the Honourable Acting Chief Judge informed participants that Instagram, twitter and Facebook accounts have been opened as follows:

Instagram account: @lagoschiefjudge
Twitter account: @lagoschiefjudge
Facebook account: Office of the Chief Judge of Lagos state

SIGNED: COMMUNIQUE COMMITTEE

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