The world is facing yet another global pandemic in almost a 100 years – The Corona virus (Covid- 19) and with social distancing being the only available panacea, public gatherings have been banned indefinitely.
Governments all around the world have placed mandatory bans on social gatherings to enable them curb the spread of the virus. In the case of Nigeria, these bans have come with adverse implications one of which is the closure of the judiciary. However, we have seen some countries all over the world leverage on the availability of information communication technology to facilitate virtual court hearings.
With Nigeria having 191,766 legal cases yet to be concluded by the judiciary as at the beginning of the 2018/2019 legal year as reported by the Punch newspaper, a total closure of the courts will lead to a pile up of cases which will in turn create an excessive backlog that may cripple the efficacious administration of justice through the judiciary, and it is to this end that several provisions on remote court hearings have been created.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and the inability of courts to hold courtroom proceedings had taken steps to ensure continued administration of justice through virtual proceedings in accordance with global best practices, with some State Chief Judges coming out to openly adopt and implement the NJC guidelines. The guideline with REF NO. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/660 and headed RE: NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL COVID-19 POLICY REPORT: GUIDELINES FOR COURT SITTINGS AND RELATED MATTERS IN THE COVID-19 PERIOD – in paragraph E stated thus; Read more