Filing Procedure At The Lagos High Court – A Lawyer’s Gruesome Tale!

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The newly adopted partly manual, partly e-filing method by the Lagos High Court registry is beginning to generate some issues and they are not encouraging.

A Lagos lawyer Bayo Akinlade, in this narrative portrays the harrowing experience of lawyers while filling process. He describes the process as being and cumbersome. In his words  “I  spent most of my last 2 weeks at the ikeja high court filing 2 fresh matters. To say the least,I was frustrated and overwhelmed by how little people appreciate time and the need to use it wisely so as to be more productive”.

He narrated the long steps which we summarized below:

1. Initialing. This is a manual time and date stamp on your processes by the commissioner for oath: its relevance is not yet ascertained especially if you do not complete the process of filing on the same day

2. Assessment – The process is assessed to ascertain the amount payable.

3. Generate a temporary suit number at the Judiciary Information Service. This however can be done at your office before coming to file at the court by signing on to your JIS account (if you have one)

4. Payment  – This has to be made in the bank if you are paying above N2000 but first you obtain teller from the cashiers (Payment to be made at Skye bank only) : (this is where a lot of your time starts to go to waste. The queue at the bank is unusually long and you have to wait to obtain treasury receipt which may take up to 30mins or more)

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6. After Payment, 4 copies of the teller and receipt is required by the registry. ( These copies are made outside the high court complex)

7. Return to the Registry with all the copies and pay another  N700 for  file jacket

8. Return to Commission for oaths to stamp all depositions and exhibits

9. Return to  the assessors to seal your processes

10. Take  file to the litigation desk where you may be asked to make a copy of the process for the file. (depending on the strength of your oratory persuasion, you may be able to get away with not going to make copy)

11. Your permanent suit number would be issued at another date.

POST FILLING

1. Your processes are sent to the Judiciary Information Service Lagos state judiciary for scanning for uploading and the digitalizing process

2. After all payments are verified, it is sent back to the registry for assignment of a permanent suit number

3. The file is sent to the sheriff department for service (To facilitate this procedure, you would have to physically follow up)

4. You would also be required to encourage the sheriff  to serve and ensure proof of service is prepared ( WITHOUT A PROOF OF SERVICE YOUR PROCESSES WILL COOL OFF IN THE RECORDS SECTION UNTIL IT DIES OF NEGLECT)

5. If you are smart enough you will get the sheriff sorted out, proof of service uploaded and the Records department to send your file for assignment.

The time it would take for the Admin  Judge to see your file and assign it to a judge who would give a hearing date is not within your purview.

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Bayo is asking the leadership of the bar do something about the procedure of filing which waste the precious time of lawyers. He is also asking that every loophole that encourage corrupt practices should be closed.

Bayo, we share your pain and concern jare

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