The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba has stated that no petition against a judicial officer of the Lagos State Judiciary will be treated unless the petitioner has served notice of the petition on the opposing counsel.

Justice Alogba stated this while responding to concerns raised by stakeholders during a Bar-Bench forum between the state judiciary and Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum (ELF) held last Wednesday.

CITY LAWYER gathered that a stakeholder had observed during the interactive session that “there is a notorious trend among lawyers – especially senior lawyers – who derive pleasure in disrespecting magistrates and thereafter write frivolous petitions against magistrates, thereby disrupting expeditious disposal of cases and clogging the wheel of justice.”

Responding, the Chief Judge noted that there is bound to be disagreements between the Bar and the Bench, adding however that such disagreements should be on the merit.

He noted that the state judiciary has devised a means to curb frivolous petitions against judicial officers, adding that petitioners are now required to show proof of service of the petition on the opposing counsel to avoid adjudicating on a one-sided allegation.

On plans to tackle the problem of awaiting trial inmates, Alogba stated that the Lagos State Judiciary has made efforts to reduce the challenges in bail administration by introducing the Bail Bond System, adding however that many stakeholders have not registered as bondsmen under the scheme.

The jurist noted that the Bail Information System (BIS) has also been introduced to solve the challenges surrounding the verification of sureties and urged lawyers to assist the judiciary by providing credible sureties.

He urged judicial officers to exercise discretion judiciously in bail matters in order to stem the problem of congestion of correctional centres through harsh bail conditions, especially as some charges are frivolous. The jurist however noted that some defendants jump bail, adding that inadequate manpower is also a major clog in bail administration especially in documentation and verification of addresses of sureties.

Turning to the eagerly awaited pronouncement of Eti-Osa as a Judicial Division by the Chief Judge, Alogba stated that the process is almost completed, adding that it is a top priority for the Lagos State Judiciary in order to bring justice nearer to the people.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Eti-Osa Lawyers’ Forum, Mr. Adewale Sanni commended the Chief Judge “for adopting an open-door policy in relation to the Bar,” adding that the forum has enjoyed excellent relations with the Lagos State Judiciary since the unveiling of the court in Eti-Osa in December 2019.

He noted that some judicial officers do not exercise discretion in bail matters judicially and judiciously, and urged the Chief Judge to issue Guidelines or Practice Direction to curb arbitrary bail conditions which worsen congestion of correctional centres.

While the entire Executive Committee and some ranking members of Eti-Osa Lawyers’ Forum attended the interactive session, the state judiciary was represented by a high-powered team led by the Chief Judge.

Other judicial officers who attended the session include the Administrative Judge of Lagos Judicial Division, Justice Olutoyin Ipaye; her Ikeja Judicial Division counterpart, Justice Modupe Nicol-Clay; the Administrative Judge of Eti-Osa Judicial Division, Justice Josephine Oyefeso; Justice Adenike Coker, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, Justice G. A. Safari, Justice Dorcas Olatokun, Justice Lawal Akapo and Justice Aigbokaevbo.

Also present were the Chief Registrar of Lagos State, Deputy Chief Registrar (Administration) Lagos; Deputy Chief Registrar (Special Duties) Lagos, some Magistrates as well as Heads of Units and Departments in the Lagos State Judiciary.

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