No society or its commerce can thrive without a working judicial system. This, amongst other factors, has necessitated a consistent call for reforms in the justice delivery sector. This has been further reinforced by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, whose far-reaching reverberations have impacted on almost every aspect of human lives and socio-economic activities. With the implementation of the twin measure of social distancing and lockdown to check a community spread/transmission of the disease, the justice delivery sector has been adversely impacted as the courtrooms have remained closed, with an uncertainty hovering around when the courts will be able to resume to take in-person physical appearance, even as not much traction has been gained in the efforts to have proceedings conducted by virtual hearing. It is in the light of the foregoing, and the urgent need to bring about reforms in the administration of civil justice system in Nigeria that the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN recently, on Monday, 20th April 2020 issued a press release on plans for the post COVID-19 justice system in Nigeria. In the press release, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation sought the cooperation of stakeholders in the justice administration sector in making the following reforms amongst others: "The passing of civil equivalent of the ACJA in order to fast-track the disposal of civil proceedings. Civil matters are proportionately more in number and tend to clog the speedy completion of civil trials. The proposed law (the civil equivalent of the ACJA) shall stipulate timeline for commencing and completing civil trials. Frontloading of evidence should also be adopted for civil trials in order to fast track hearings." There is no gainsaying the fact that these laudable recommendations when effectively implemented, will create an effective judicial system which will regain its lost confidence from the citizenry and other users as an effective route to seeking redress in civil dispute resolution. This will improve foreign direct investments in Nigeria because an effective dispute resolution system is a major consideration for foreigners in investing in any economy. It will also drastically reduce defaults of contractual obligations. Read More
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