Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Olayinka Faji said at least four retrofitted courtrooms in the state-of-the-art nine-floor building will come into use, possibly from September.
The judge was one of the guests at the 2023 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch Law Week themed “Facing the Future: Law in a globalised economy,” held at the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island.
Justice Faji, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Rotimi Seriki (SAN), and Sylvester Udemezue spoke as panellists during the first plenary session titled “The Globalized Economy and the Integration of the Nigerian Judicial System”, moderated by Titilola Akinlawon (SAN).
Justice Faji said: “I have seen the courtrooms, my chief judge has seen the courtrooms and he has been assured by those building it that it will be ready before the end of the year. I don’t want to say before September, but I know that before the end of the year.
“We’ve had challenges; funding is a basic problem probably because, as somebody has said here, the government itself doesn’t see the Judiciary as an arm of government and all the things that happen with budgeting also affect the judiciary. All the issues at the National Assembly also affect the judiciary.”
Speaking to the plenary topic, the panellists urged the Bar and Bench to rise above its challenges and leverage tech and other reforms to enhance the country’s judicial system.
“They can make use of artificial intelligence that will guide non-lawyers and litigants to know the strength of their cases and to know how to proceed.
“One basic challenge is the infrastructure, another is knowledge one other challenge is the reluctance of lawyers to accept change. Lawyers are very slow in accepting change; they see the court as a place and not as a service. The court is a service.”
Also speaking, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye warned that judicial standards had fallen, just as they had in other sectors and called for reform.
“If the truth must be told standards are falling on the Bar and the Bench, we need to pay attention to the kind of curriculum our new lawyers are being taught at the law school so that they can be very versatile,” she said.
Seriki, who interrogated problems with the enforcement of arbitral awards, suggested that there be a limit to the courts that can hear an appeal on arbitration matters.
“There is no reason for an arbitral issue to get to the Supreme Court,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, noted that the banking sector like other industries had been impacted by globalisation.
Wigwe, who was represented by Mr. Amachi Okoye, said: “We ask, what are the implications for banking in a globalised economy? For banks, a globalized economy opens new market opportunities. Banks can expand their customer base across borders and diversify their revenue streams, thereby reducing reliance on specific domestic markets.
“Globalization fosters increased cross-border transactions, trade, and investment flows. Banks can tap into international capital markets for funding and expansion, coupled with technological advancements, globalization has accelerated digital transformation in banking however, the challenges include navigation of complex regulations and compliance with international standards.”