Cases before Supreme Court Must be Heard on Fixed Dates, Says CJN

Walter Onnoghen

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has said that henceforth all cases at the Supreme Court will be taken on the dates slated for their hearing.

The move, which is targeted at speedy dispensation of justice, however warned litigants and counsel to come to court fully prepared as the court would no longer entertain frivolous request for adjournment of cases before it.

The directives of the CJN, which was disclosed in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Awassam Bassey, also noted that the apex court has also commenced the publication of its cause list for up to three months per time on its website.

“This is a departure from the former practice where the court only published weekly Cause List and the Rulings on Applications from Chamber Sitting on the said website.

“The policy, according to the CJN, is deliberately targeted at the speedy dispensation of justice and its publication is to encourage counsel to take advantage of the initiative and prepare adequately ahead of hearings, to avoid any delays,” the statement read in part.

While the statement noted that the Supreme Court diary is full with appeals set down for hearing up to 2021, it stressed that the appeals would be heard and judgments delivered as necessary and in accordance with the rules of the court.

Flowing from the above, Onnoghen stated that the situation therefore leaves no room for unnecessary adjournments arising from lack of diligent prosecution, poor preparations or non-appearance by counsel.

Accordingly, the CJN said: “This means that any matter that is assigned a date must be heard and determined one way or the other on that date.

”For appeals that may be discovered to have defects, counsel is advised to take necessary steps to amend such defects before the due hearing date.”

According to him, “Everyone must come to the court fully prepared for the business of the day.”

On a related note, the CJN advises counsel to obtain their official legal email addresses if they have not done so yet as communication with and service of processes at the Supreme Court remain only via the legal email.