Summary of The Covid 19 Policy Guidelines Issued by The National Judicial Council and The Covid-19 Practice Directions Issued for The Magistrate Court in Lagos
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the reality of a world system that has been forever changed in its wake. The Nigerian Judiciary has been most affected by the pandemic which has occasioned the shutdown of Nigerian courts. On May 7, 2020, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad issued the Guidelines for Court Sittings and Related Matters in the COVID-19 Period (the guidelines).
However, the Supreme Court is yet to issue its protocol for remote hearing, but it is proper to assume that the guidelines would be adopted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the practice directions for the apex court because the guidelines provide that its provisions are applicable to all courts in the federation. Therefore, the remote hearing guidelines aforesaid would be reviewed as it relates to the general conduct of remote hearings by all courts, as well as the Supreme Court.
GUIDELINES FOR COURT SITTINGS AND RELATED MATTERS IN THE COVID-19 PERIOD.
The guidelines are divided into 7 parts as listed below:
- Part A – COURT PREMISES.
- Part B – FILING OF PROCESSES.
- Part C – PAYMENT OF FILING FEES.
- Part D – SERVICE OF PROCESSES AND HEARING NOTICES
- Part E – VIRTUAL OR REMOTE COURT SITTINGS; and
- Part F – PHYSICAL COURT SITTINGS
Let us discuss some of the salient provisions of the guidelines below: