Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has called on lawyers to acquire basic information technology skills to enable them to use the new Nigerian Case Management System (NCMS) now in place at the Supreme Court.
The CJN who spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2016 orientation course for newly appointed magistrates held at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), said e-proficiency would soon become a veritable pre-requisite for future advancement within the nation’s judiciary.
He said with the recently adopted technology through the introduction of the NCMS, case management tools were now accessible 24 hours a day.
He charged all lawyers and other stakeholders in the nation’s justice system to equip themselves with the new technology in order not to lag behind.
He said: “This is an innovative case management system that is being piloted at the Supreme Court for eventual roll-out to the strata of our courts in the earliest possible time.
“Technology has further afforded us the opportunity to have virtual libraries and law reports on devices that are no bigger than a sheet of A4 paper.
“Case management tools can now be accessed 24 hours a day from the comfort of our homes and hearing notices will in the nearest future be emailed to lawyers once enrolment on the Judiciary’s Nigerian Legal E-Mail System (NILES), is fully achieved, in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association.
“Sequel to these and other strides to automate aspects of our procedures and rules, I counsel you to ensure that you are proficient in the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
“Indeed, I must inform you that e-proficiency will become a veritable pre-requisite for future advancement within our judiciary.”
The CJN also said that the 21st century judicial officer would face a bigger caseload than in previous decades and charged the magistrates to rise to the task in order to justify the confidence reposed in them by the people.
“At the same time, one is also faced with the ever present clamour and demands for quick, affordable and efficient dispensation of justice. Given the increased complexity of disputes in our country, the judiciary is now more hard-pressed to keep the balance between chaos and order.
“How we maintain this balance will determine our credibility, our integrity and indeed our posterity,” he added.
He further charged them to be mindful of their professional duties as well as the ethical content of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, and to uphold judicial independence and respect for the rule of law.
Earlier, the Administrator, NJI, Justice Rosaline Bozimo, in her welcome address, had advised the magistrates to shun all forms of corrupt practice and tendencies saying, the various judiciary service commissions would not hesitate to deal decisively with any erring magistrate.
She charged them to imbibe the ethics and conducts of the profession in the administration of justice adding that strict observance of judicial ethics and code of conduct, Impartiality, accountability, and independence were the attributes of a good magistrate.