Lagos Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke has set up a 15-man committee to review the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012 in order to eradicate delay in justice administration, ensure efficient justice delivery and enforcement of judgement.
Inaugurating the committee at the conference room of Ikeja High Court on Monday, Justice Oke said this has become necessary to restore public confidence in the judiciary.
Justice Oke remarked that “there is a need for complimentary provisions on the enforcement of judgement for the purpose of giving effect to the Sheriff and Civil Process Act”, emphasizing that the committee should ensure “that any such reforms made do not conflict with the provisions of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act”.
The chief judge charged the committee to, for instance, “look into stipulation of timeline for handling of specific matters”.
Noting that the fast track division has a nine-month timeline within which to dispense any matter before it, the chief judge charged the committee “to consider the viability of extending timeliness to probate, sexual offences and land related matters” to facilitate speedy dispensation of justice in these areas.
“It is also desirable to have a further simplification of the process for obtaining letters of administration and make same more attractive to users of the court. I therefore encouraged the review committee to consider a reform in this regard”, she said.
Justice Oke lamented that over the years, excessive delay in justice administration has become an embarrassing feature of the administration of justice, pointing out that “the inadequacies of civil procedure rules and abuse of those rules have been identified as a contributory factor to the delay.
She said this was why the Lagos State government introduced the 2004 Civil Procedure Rules to address the problems that were identified.
She said the 2012 Rules was initiated to assert the independence of the judiciary and the lacuna identified in the 2004 Rules.
She said it was high time that the 2012 Rules is reviewed, notwithstanding that it has served them well, to ensure that the Rules continue to serve the primary function of ensuring justice is effectively administered.
Responding on behalf of the committee members, the chairman, Justice Kazeem Alogba promised that they would disappoint the users of the court.
“I want to assure the Chief Judge that we would do our best to achieve better than expected of us”, he said.