IN response to the need for efficient justice delivery and case management in the country, the judiciary has adopted the use of new technology, through the introduction of Nigeria Case Management System (NCMS), the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has said.
Speaking at a refresher course for magistrates, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) on Monday in Abuja, Onnoghen said the innovative case management system is presently being piloted by the Supreme Court and will soon be rolled out to the strata of courts in the country.
According to the CJN, technology has transformed the manner in which service of court processes, record keeping and retrieval of data and other operations are carried out in courts.
“Technology has afforded us the opportunity to have virtual libraries and law reports at our finger tips. Case management tools can now be accessed 24 hours a day from the comfort of our homes and hearing notices will, in the nearest future be e-mailed to lawyers once enrolment on the Judiciary’s Nigerian Legal E-Mail System (NILES), is fully achieved in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“As we speak, the deadline for paper court processes in the Supreme Court has been fixed for July 2018, the CJN stated and urged Magistrates to be proficient in the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) as the e-proficiency will become a veritable pre-requisite for career advancement within the judiciary.
While charging the Magistrates to carry out their judicial functions in line with the constitution of the country, Onnoghen said continuing judicial education is a mandatory requirement for every judicial officer who sits on the Bench for adjudication.
“It is pertinent to remind you as Magistrates, that you must be mindful of your professional duties as well as the ethical content of the Code of Conduct for judicial officers.
“It is an indispensable guide to the proper conduct and performance of your duties”, he said and urged the Magistrates to take charge of their courts in the discharge of their judicial functions.
The CJN also charged them to remain diligent, conscientious and to imbibe the fear of the Almighty God in the discharge of their duties.
Also speaking, the NJI administrator, Justice Rosaline Bozimo said the theme of the course, “Promoting excellence in the administration of justice in lower courts” was in line with the current drive of the CJN, in ensuring that excellence in service delivery is enhanced at all levels of the judicial process.
She said the course was organised by the Institute in fulfilment of its statutory mandate for judicial officers and their supporting staff with a view to expanding and improving their overall knowledge and performance in their duties.
Justice Bozimo said Magistrate courts play a vital role in the administration of justice, as it serves as the first point of call for most litigants.