Principal Partner: How Senior Advocates of Nigeria Can Aid Justice Administration

Source: The Nation Online, 03.07.2018

The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) gave the charge on Thursday at its maiden annual lecture in Lagos and noted that by virtue of their status, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) had a duty to provide leadership in and out of court.

Participants at the event included Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen; Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Justices; state Chief Judges, judges, Attorneys-General and Commissioner of Justices, among others. Guest speaker, Professor Fidelis Oditah, Queen’s Counsel (QC), SAN, spoke and chaired a panel on ‘The evolving role of Senior Advocates in the administration of justice and nation building’. Panelists included Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, JSC (retd), Chief Folake Solanke, SAN, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Mr. A.B Mahmoud SAN, who was represented by Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN.

Justice Onnoghen, praised BOSAN for organising the event and spoke on ‘how members of the Inner Bar can support the dispensation of justice and justice sector reform’. He added: “The public have confidence not only in the Courts, but in the members of the Bar, who are the bridge between the Courts and the public. Therefore, it is of necessity to come together to address the challenges you encounter and to incorporate your contributions towards the justice sector reforms, thereby expediting speedy dispensation of justice.”

The legal system is bedeviled with challenges around administration of justice at all levels of decision making, weak case management, inefficient court registry and inability to bring criminals to book. Nevertheless, the CJN tasked SANs to be the voice of reason and moderation, role models, groom young lawyers, uphold integrity in and out of court and ensure the prestige of their ranks as Senior Advocates. He noted in particular that, like it happens with QCs in England, the role of a SAN should go beyond advocacy.

Solanke, first female SAN, urged lawyers to offer informed commentary on issues of national importance, such as the abduction of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls. She reasoned that such comments could help to provide direction for public policy and keep government on its toes.

In his closing remarks, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN of Kenna Partners, thanked the Chairman, BOSAN Committee on Leadership Fund, Chief Felix Fagbouhungbe, SAN, “for his leadership and wonderful insights,” as well as other members of the BOSAN Subcommittee on Continuing Legal Education “for their tremendous contributions and administrative role in planning this event.”

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