By Chris Chimezie
The discernible challenges encountered in a transitional society and the pervasive belief of denial of justice occasioned by undue delay have been attributed to the factors militating against an effective justice delivery system.
These, among others were the submission of the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), at the 2018 Lagos Innovating Justice Conference (LIJC), held at the Landmark Event Centre, Lagos.
The Conference organised by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), brought together lawyers and other professional bodies to chat the way forward on how the nation’s justice system can be reformed.
Governor Akeredolu who was the Guest of Honour, highlighted other factors inhibiting quick justice delivery in the country.
According to the Governor, for the Judges and Court registry, the volume of cases that come before them is overwhelming, adding that their ability to dispose of them timeously is hindered by the sheer volume.
Profering solutions to make the justice system accessible, he mentioned some of the innovations to include; filing of briefs of arguments at the Court of Appeal and timing of oral arguments.
Others are filing of witness statements to save the time for taking oral testimony, filing of written arguments at the High Court, orbiter of the appellate Courts discouraging interlocutory appeals among others.
Governor Akeredolu who added that the transcribing machines have been observed in some Courts, but have not been put to use, stated that despite the introduction of those measures, there have been little impact on improving the accessibility to justice.
The Governor advocated the need for more innovations to fast-track quick justice delivery system for the judiciary to continue to be seen as the last hope of not only the common man but all.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Hague Institute for Innovation of law, Dr Sam Muller in his welcome address, said access to justice revolves around our daily activities.
Muller stressed that in the last five years ,the institute has been involved in the project in fifteen countries with a view to come up with innovations and research on how to address lack of access to justice delivery.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters in, Mr Yemi Dideolu commended the Hague institute for contributing greatly to the nation’s justice system in the last three years it came into the country.
While noting that access to justice is limited by some factors which included poverty, gender issues, ignorance among others, canvassed the need to strengthen accountability mechanism in the sector through technological-driven innovations for accelerated justice delivery.
Also, in her keynote address, a former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili who spoke on “Power of data to democratize access to Justice”, noted that societies are created to find solutions to myriads of challenges or problems facing man .
Former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Supo Sasore while explaining that rule of law is an embodiment of the justice sector, advocated the need to invest in the sector like some notable western countries.
He added that innovation must not be technologically driven to achieve its purpose, but rather come with some measures that will make every institutions under the sector work through political will and strict legislation.