Appeal Court to Establish Special Panels to Decongest Backlog of Appeals

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Court of Appeal yesterday disclosed plans to establish special panels that would facilitate the de-congestion of backlog of appeals in the various divisions of the court.

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem made the disclosure during the maiden edition of the Meeting with Presiding Justices of the 20 Divisions of the Court of Appeal tagged: Working Conference of the Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeal.

Dongban-Mensem, noted that the working conference, which is the first of its kind, was specially chosen to promote a sense of togetherness by enabling the most experienced minds to be deployed to Special de-congestion Panels that will tackle the most congested divisions.

The special panels, which will be sitting in two sessions daily will work for three days to adjudicate in over 100 motions.

This became necessary in view of the lingering appeals clustering the court due to what she described as “the unwillingness of some litigants who go into deep slumber without filing complete processes”.

She said: “The Court of Appeal cannot be used as a tool in the hands of these litigants who go into a deep slumber. All notices of appeal filed without being followed with other processes to ensure quick prosecution and disposal of the appeal should be shown the way out. We have sufficient provisions in our rules, which are backed by constitutional provisions for the disposal of matters in court.”

She noted that since presiding justices are heads of the divisions, they can go ahead and take charge and keep up with the tempo in their various divisions, adding that, “we have come out to dare to bite so that when we go back to our divisions, we shall not forget to keep up the tempo.’’

She further noted that such de-congestion to an extent would help reduce the soaring unemployment rate in the country.

“In a nation with teeming unemployed graduates and restive youths, we must do our part to create jobs by ensuring that all appeals are heard expeditiously especially those which involve corporate bodies and businesses which can provide jobs for our youths”, she said.