Stakeholders in Delta seek financial autonomy for judiciary

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Stakeholders in the administration of justice in Delta State yesterday canvassed financial autonomy for the sector.

The participants made the appeal in Oleh, Delta State, at the Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

According to them, the funds due to the judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund should be paid directly to the heads of court.

This, they, said was in line with Section 121 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

The theme of the conference was: “Judicial autonomy as basis for effective justice administration and social order.”

The state Chief Judge, Justice Marchal Umukoro, who chaired the occasion, said it is the constitutional responsibility of the executive to lay the budget before the National Assembly, or the Delta State House of Assembly, as the case may be.

He solicited some safeguarding measures to ensure that the financial needs of the judiciary are reflected in the budget, and the approved finances released to it.

He charged legal practitioners, especially the human rights section of the NBA to offer free legal representation to indigent members of the society.

The keynote speaker, Albert Akpomudje (SAN), who focused on the procedure of conducting court business and reporting, advocated radical innovation in the legal system, as obtained in the United Kingdom.

He also canvassed doing away with the wig and gown in civil proceedings, due to Nigeria’s hot weather, court size and inadequate ventilation in courtrooms.

Akpomudje spoke on a topic titled: “Improvement of the system of administration of justice, its procedures and arrangement of court business and regular law reporting.”

He called for the amendment of some aspects of the civil procedure rules such as pre-trial conference and the time prescribed by the rules from the commencement to conclusion of cases.

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