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CJN warns lawyers against frivolous petitions

14 May 2013, 09:27

Lagos-  The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukthar, has warned legal practitioners against the practice of writing frivolous petitions to challenge unfavourable judgments.

Mukthar gave the warning on Monday in Lagos while speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association's (NBA) Action Group on Rule of Law.

She said that writing unsubstantiated petitions rather than exploring the legal process of appeal was becoming a norm among some lawyers.

According to the CJN, the practice is becoming an albatross on the justice system.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the workshop was ``The Rule of Law: Bedrock for Sustainable Democracy and Development.

``I need to point out the negative habit of lawyers and litigants using petitions as an alternative to appeals. This has led to a lot of frivolous petitions before the National Judicial Council.

``On my assumption of office, I inherited 139 petitions out of which 33 were worthy of defence.

``Shortly after assumption, 198 fresh petitions were received, out of which 150 were frivolous; 15 are awaiting responses from the judges while only 21 were slated for considerations.

``We believe those who are aggrieved in whatever way have the right to write petitions for NJC`s action, they must also ensure those petitions are serious enough for consideration,’’ she said.

The CJN urged legal practitioners to uphold the code of conduct of their profession and advised them to shun acts that could undermine the rule of law.

She implored them to be vigilant and report any misconduct of judicial officers to the appropriate quarters for disciplinary actions.

Speaking at the occasion, Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said that legal practitioners were at a vantage position to use the rule of law to tackle some of the country`s challenges.

He urged lawyers to live up to their billing as champions of the law and use their privileged position, knowledge and ideas to put the country on the path of progress.

``The judiciary will have the biggest part of the blame if it failed to fix the problems confronting this nation.

``And if we are not able to fix these challenges, we will be letting this profession down,’’ Fashola said.

The governor expressed concern at the growing culture of impunity in the country and urged lawyers to do everything to stem the tide.

The State's Chief Judge, Justice Ayotunde Philips, said that law and order were indispensable for the development of any society.

She urged lawyers to uphold the tenets of their profession and demonstrate passionate commitment to the protection of the country`s laws.

The chief judge said the State Government had over the years promulgated legislation, aimed at strengthening law and order and promoting the development of the state.


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