Lagos Branch Law Week: Administration of Justice and the Courts: A Dialogue Between The Bench and The Bar

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Lagos Branch Law Week: Administration of Justice and the Courts: A Dialogue Between The Bench and The Bar

How did the Bar and the Bench see each other? Are you comfortable with the courts in terms of their willingness to master complex facts? Does the Bar present cases in a way that judges can understand? Most corporate counsel are very supportive of mediation. Do judges use it effectively? Concern has been expressed about a breakdown in decorum with lawyers becoming more disrespectful of both the judge and other lawyers. Do you see that in your courtroom?

What is the role of the judge in the conduct of a trial? Can he engage counsel in legal argument and ask questions on legal issues without breaking the brittle bond of justice or be said to have ‘descended into the arena’? Assuming that these actions are permissible, at what point will the judge’s dialogue with counsel or line of questioning go beyond permissible limits?

Lawyers like to use shorthand when talking with associates and colleagues because they all know the field. They have to stop doing it when they come to court

Surface respect for the court among lawyers is still high. Lawyers have a strong motivation not to be disrespectful of judges in public because it diminishes the value of their own work. If you talk about civility, most lawyers are still very civil to judges. They have every incentive to do that because there is the possibility that you will come before a judge who is upset that you attacked another judge.

Is it right for you to know what motivates the judge (handling your matter) and what his background is before going into any case? Is it right to see what kind of cases they have had? Can counsel ask questions from colleagues who have appeared before the judge to find out as much as he can about her/his demeanor and ways of handling things?

These are some of the questions that must be well answered at this session: “Administration of Justice and the Courts – ‘A Dialogue Between The Bench and The Bar’. The binding bonds between the Bar and the Bench must continue as established by law.


Administration of Justice and the Courts: A Dialogue Between The Bench and The Bar

Speaker:

Tunde Fagbohunlu, SAN – Partner, Aluko & Oyebode

Tunde has been described as a “fantastic litigator” who is noted for his craftsmanship in constructing legal arguments. He represents clients in litigation and arbitration proceedings in disputes arising in various industries, and renders legal advice on a wide range of commercial transactions.

He regularly represents Nigerian as well as foreign and multinational clients in ad hoc arbitrations and arbitrations administered by arbitral institutions such as the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Tunde who is a Partner in the firm of Aluko & Oyebode, was in 2008 elevated to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) (the Nigerian equivalent of a Queen’s Counsel).


Moderator:

Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey – former Solicitor-General of Lagos State

Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey is a former Commissioner for Lands in Lagos State. During a brilliant career in the Justice Ministry, he rose to the position of Director of Public Prosecution, DPP and later became Solicitor-General of the State and Permanent Secretary before retirement.

He is the immediate past Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, CEO Lagos State Security Trust Fund, LSSTF, an author and now a consultant on governance, security and law.

Arthur-Worrey had once said, “It is difficult to rate any institution in Nigeria separate from its social milieu, very difficult.

“I don’t think any public institution in Nigeria of today is functioning at optimum capacity and I think the Judiciary falls within that category. I will say that they probably are not fulfilling the expectation, the legitimate expectation of Nigerians to address some of the issues that we confront.”

His ideology: I think they (the Judiciary) need to be firmer in the exercise of their exclusive judicial powers.


Chairman of the Panel of Discussion:

Hon. Justice Rhodes Vivour, JSC

His Lordship had served as a member of many national assignments such as: Election Petition Tribunal, Rivers and Imo Regions1999, Election Petition Tribunal, Littoral and Anambra Region 2003-2004, Election Petition Tribunal Edo Region 2005-2006, Member Election Appeal Tribunal, Oyo, Ogun and Osun Region 2009.

He has attended various international professional conferences. In 1979, under the auspices of Commonwealth of Nations, Honourable Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour took part in an international conference for a course in Legislative Drafting in School of Law, Nairobi, Kenya. Also in 1983, he attended a conference in Chicago, United States of America for an Advanced Course in Legal Drafting, similarly in 1992, he attended a Seminar on Drug Related Offences in Christ-church, University of Oxford, England. Honourable Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour has equally attended conferences and delivered Papers within the Country.

Honoured by Cotonou Region Government for outstanding Contribution to the Cotonou Region Ministry of Justice 2003. Commander of  Republic of Benin CFR 2012.

His Lordship is a member of some notable clubs and professional associations. He is a lover of sport movies and documentaries, and he enjoys reading.


Panelist:

Hon. Justice Wale Abiru, JCA

Justice Abiru, Justice of the Court of Appeal, is a University of Ife alumnus. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985. He worked with Bentley Edu & Co for 7 years, lectured at LASU for a year and was appointed judge in May 2001.

He is the (Amir) President of the Movement for Islam Culture and Awareness. (An organisation of young professional muslims).

As the President of the Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness, Abiru believes there nothing in the orientation of judges which makes them tend towards religious involvement.


Panelist:

Hon. Justice Marshall Umukoro – Chief Judge, Delta State

Hon. Justice Umukoro was sworn-in as Magistrate 2 under the Bendel State Judiciary where he served and rose to become a High Court Judge. In the course of his service to the Judiciary, Hon. Justice Umukoro headed several Judicial Committees. He has also contributed largely to the National Jurisprudence.

He was appointed Chief Judge of Delta State in May, 2015 to date. He was also appointed as Member, National judicial Council in 2017 to date.

Hon. Justice Umukoro has attended several workshops and seminars around the globe. He has to his credit, numerous awards. He is also a member of some notable professional and social bodies.

Umukoro once said, “Judges should, in turn, strive at all times to uphold justice, fairness and equity”


Panelist:

Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN – NBA President

Paul Usoro (SAN) is the current President of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was elected as the 29th President of the NBA last year. Usoro is the Founder and Senior Partner of Paul Usoro & Co. The NBA President, with over 35 years’ experience is also acknowledged as a highly experienced litigator and Nigeria’s foremost communications law expert.

He has advised a wide range of blue chip Nigerian and foreign companies in the areas of project finance and development, equity raising, infrastructure development and management buy-outs. He has served as the Chief Legal Consultant for Nigeria’s first ever spectrum auction since 2001. He has also worked with the National Assembly in producing the Nigeria Communication Act, 2003.

He also previously represented Access Bank as Non-Executive Director on the Board of Intercontinental Bank in October 2011 following the Bank’s acquisition of the Intercontinental Bank Group.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He was called to Nigerian Bar in 1982. Usoro holds a Bachelors of Law Degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife in 1981.

Usoro’s ideology: “Judges and the Courts are not enemies of society simply because they discharge and or acquit persons who are charged before them for criminal conduct. Courts make decisions based on the facts presented before them and based on applicable principles of law. Judges remain impartial arbiters, even in criminal matters and our Nigerian Courts have in the main carried out these functions in a most exemplary manner.”


The judiciary is faced with multiple challenges that slow down the wheel of justice. But most of them analytically are “self-inflicted”. Solving them should begin with a change in attitude by stakeholders.

On the 20th – 21st of June, 2019, Venue: City Hall, Lagos, at the Lagos Branch Law Week, legal experts would gather to chart a path for the judiciary, and achieve efficient Justice system.


Registration for the Law Week is still ongoing and multiple registration channels have been provided by the Law Week Committee towards a seamless and hassle-free registration experience for participants.

This includes payment at the banks or through POS at the Lagos NBA branch office. Participants can also download the registration form and pay through the payment gateway indicated on the branch website.

The registration rates are below:

  • 1 – 7 years: N3,500
  • 8 – 15 years: N5,000
  • 16 – 19 years is 10,000
  • 20 years and above is N15,000
  • SANs and Benchers N25,000

Interested participants are to make their payments to the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch at Access Bank. The Account Number is 0728253326. Please return the registration form to the branch office with proof of payment.

For enquiries, please contact:
Nkem Agboti
08035739791
nagboti@gmail.com.

Uche Nwadialo
08098030060
u.nwadialo@gmail.com

Oluyemisi Iwajomo
08064112076
oiwajomo@babalakinandco.com


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