Citizens Rally Against Oppression ( CR), a group led by the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch Mr. Adesina Ademola Ogunlana today at the Main Gate of the Ikeja High Court to protest against some of the provisions in the proposed High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2018.
The protest which Mr. Ogunlana described as a solemn procession began at 12:00 and ended at 12:32pm.
According to Mr. Ogunlana, only six persons participated in the rally; “We started 12 00pm and ended the action at 12 32pm . We were only six in number , but nothing daunted , we leafleteered, paraded our Banner and got members of the public interested. A senior colleague, Mr Bankole who happened on us, solidarized instantly with us .Our gratitude.”
The CR members also delivered a letter of protest to the Chief Judge of Lagos State
As part of activities marking the 2018/2019 Legal Year, the Lagos Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Opeyemi Oke had convened a stakeholders’ summit where lawyers and judges were briefed on the proposed amendments to the Lagos High Court Rules.
Most of the proposed amendments which the CJ indicated were targeted at tackling delays in the courts are:
- The introduction of punitive costs to be awarded against lawyers who fail to show up in court for their cases or show up to request frivolous adjournments for lack of preparation.
- Cost of N100,000 minimum penalty for a lawyer who unjustifiably scuttles a court hearing and N50,000 for one who scuttles the hearing of an interlocutory application.
- The default fee for late filing of court processes will increase from N200 per day to N1,000 per day.
- Empowering a judge to strike out a suit where no action is taken by the parties in six months.
- Final written addresses to be limited to 20 pages and reply on point-of-law to five pages.
- Acceptance of “all verifiable means of electronic communications” for serving court processes by substituted means.
The above and more were the new introductions which the CJ seeks to make on the 2018 Rules. However, Lawyers on the other side of the divide are worried that these new introductions would further impoverish the poor and make access to justice more unreachable to them.
While Mr. Ogunlana and many others are opposed to the new introductions, there are a host of other lawyers who believe that the introduction would improve justice delivery system and ensure that lawyers who are not diligent are not seen anywhere near the courts.
We would keep you updated as events unfold.
Photos of the CR members at the rally
Credit: Adesina Ogunlana