Legal Luminaries Advocate Adoption Of ICT In Justice Administration
Lawyers and some members of the Bench have said that the adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) had become imperative in contemporary Nigeria legal practice.
This was the top of issues discussed at the 2022 Bar Week of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Otuocha Branch held on Friday in Nkwelle Ezunaka, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra.
The theme of the Week was “The Impact of Technology on 21st Century Law Practice and Justice Delivery”.
Prof Ogugua Ikpeze of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka who delivered the Keynote Address said the world was advancing and legal practice could not afford to lag behind.
Ikpeze, a Life Bencher, said although the legal profession was viewed as mundane, known for being traditional and conservative which must be preserved to maintain professionalism, prestige and ethics it must be made adaptable to change.
She said the topic of discussion was apt pointing out that those who do not want to upgrade to the application of information technology in their legal practice would lose their relevance in this age of technology driven world.
“Impact of technology in the 21st century law practice and justice delivery can never be overemphasized, technology has come to stay and it has permeated all the spheres of life.
“Technology has made life easy, worth living and a global village. It has also eased legal practice and made justice delivery speedy and more transparent,” she said.
Rev. Fr Emeka Oraegbunam, a Professor of Law and Applied Jurisprudence said the world was evolving and everything was being done online including banking which involved money.
Oraegbunam said ICT had become imperative in legal practice and justice delivery because it would reduce delay, improve efficiency, protect the health of judicial officers, increase access to justice and boost confidence of all parties.
He recommended that minimum infrastructure, training and teaching for effective adoption of ICT based practice while advising the older generation of the bar and bench should make conscious efforts to adapt and be part of the revolution.
His Worship, Dr Mike Anyadiegwu said it was important that courts should be upgraded and made amenable to function technologically adding that the facilities were not available in all courts.
Anyadiegwu, a magistrate said virtually hearing would solve the problem of non production of criminal suspects in court because of insecurity and COVID-19, and should be encouraged and adopted.
“From my experience, it is better we embrace technology because the legal profession being a conservative profession is gradually moving towards technology and we can not be left behind.
“In order to fast track criminal trial and justice delivery, there is a need for us to embrace technology, that is what is obtained in Europe and America, and that is the standard practice available today.
“The system should encourage ICT database for court proceedings, we can’t continue to do everything manually,” he said.
Members of Otuocha Bar
In his welcome address, Mr Anthony Okafor, Chairman of NBA, Otuocha Branch said the programme was a unique opportunity to discuss, evaluate and proffer solutions to the myriad of issues besetting the profession and efficient justice delivery.
He congratulated Gov. Chukwuma Soludo for his strides in managing the affairs of the state so far and called on him to speed up the renovation work going on at the High Court premises, Otuocha for ease of the dispensation of Justice to the area.
“We are equally pleading with Mr. Governor to ensure the completion of the new High Court Complex at Aguleri. The Otuocha High Court needs at least four court halls that are functioning to its full capacity,” he said.