Lagos CJ, Justice Opeyemi Oke

The Lagos State Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Opeyemi Oke, on Monday launched the new High Court of Lagos Civil Procedure Rules 2018 at the premises of the Ikeja High Court.

The new set of Rules, which is the working tools of the judges of the High Court of Lagos State, was created to combat delays in the administration of justice.

Justice Oke in her speech said the new 2018 rules are in line with international best practices.

According to her, it is necessary to review the 2012 version of the Civil Procedure Rules to meet the obvious reality that in terms of efficiency, accessibility and effectiveness, civil justice delivery remained deficient.

“It, therefore, became expedient to address these problems by introducing reforms directed towards the achievement of a just, speedy and efficient administration of justice in line with the commitment statement of this administration.

“A review was also essential to further reinforce the independence of the judiciary and address the lacuna identified in the 2012 Rules.

“The principal target of reform, therefore, is to facilitate total justice delivery by ensuring speedy dispensation of justice and the restoration of public confidence in our judicial system,” she said.

The Chief Judge disclosed that all relevant stakeholders including all Lagos branches of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had their input in the enactment of the new rules.

“Calls were made for inclusive contribution from all stakeholders. All the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) branches in the state were duly notified and requests were made for their contributions and suggestions to be forwarded to the Rules Committee.

“Also adverts were placed in the national newspapers on Jan. 23, 2018 for the input of all stakeholders. In addition, letters were written to the National Executive members of the NBA and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) for their input.

“In response to these calls for inclusive contribution, several memoranda were received from various stakeholders, particularly from the branches of the NBA.

“All suggestions and contributions forwarded to us were thoroughly examined by the Rules Committee and taken into consideration in arriving at our New Rules of Court,” the CJ said.

Justice Oke noted that the 2018 Rules contain new pre-action protocols on various subject matters, which explains the conduct and set out the steps required of parties prior to the commencement of proceedings relevant to the new Rules.

She commended the efforts of Justice K. O Alogba, the Chairman of the Rules Review Committee, who had presented to her, hard copies of the 2018 Rules during the ceremony.

“While commending the work of the committee, which comprised of 14 other judges, Oke said “Not minding the fact they have to take on their adjudicative roles in their respective courts, they worked with so much dedication and passion”.

“They saw through the successful advent of the new Rules. Their work ethic is indefatigable by every standard.

“I am so proud of you and you are greatly appreciated for your doggedness and unrelenting spirit in ensuring that the hope of the common man in the Judiciary is not dashed,” she said.