System for self-regulation in the judiciary, legal profession has failed – JRP observed

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A group of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SANs) under the ages of The Justice Reform Project said the system for self-regulation in the judiciary and the legal profession has failed the country.

The group made up of 20 SANs in a release made available to IMPACT pointed accusing fingers to senior advocates and some lawyers who they said procure judgments and orders by corrupt means.

They stated further that the perceived corruption in the judiciary is supported by anecdotal evidence. According to the group, “certain facts are hardly contestable. There is a wide spread perception that there is corruption in the judiciary and this perception is supported by anecdotal evidence.”

The group pointed out that lack of transparency and appreciation of the basic ethos of governance in the process and procedures of relevant institutions lies at the very heart of the challenges the Bench and the Bar currently face.

The group also pointed out that the perception that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been ineffective in exercising discipline where high-ranking judicial officers are involved while the Nigerian Bar Association “is notorious for its inefficacy in respect of disciplinary issues.”

The group said “the Nigerian legal profession and justice system have known better days. We recall the golden era of our judiciary, when judgments of Nigerian courts were cited with approval in foreign               courts.

“Sadly,  this is no longer the case. In our view, the incessant examples of contradictory decisions    that        have afflicted Nigerian jurisprudence in all facets of law further fuel the perception of incompetence    and corruption by the Nigerian judiciary and the  legal profession.             

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The group said it was set up to collaborate with stakeholders in the effort aimed at achieving broad consensus in, and implementing a process that will lead to review and reform some critical aspects of the justice delivery system.

The group suggested 12 reforms that must be carried out by to restore the credibility of the justice system part of which are the composition, constitution, functions and internal controls of the national Judicial Council, the process for the appointment, continuing education and promotion of judicial officers and the process for the appointment of lawyers to the Body of Benchers.

Members of this group include, Ebun Sofunde, Kayode Sofola, Kola Awodein, Ademola Akinrele, Dr. Eyimofe Atake and Mrs. Olufunke Adekoya. Olufemi Atoyebi, Yemi Candide-Johnson, Olasupo Shasore, Babatunde Ajibade, Osaro Eghobamien and Babatunde Fagbbohunlu were part of the group. Others are Wemimo Ogunde, Jubrin Okutepa, Olumide Sofowora, Ernest Ojukwu, Olatunde Adejuyigbe, Dr.Adewale Olawoyin, Adenyi Adegbonmire and Oyesji Oyeleke.

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