Some Nigerian lawyers and judges have said that the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) has become imperative in contemporary Nigerian legal practice.
This was the main issue discussed during the recent Bar Week 2022 of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Otuocha Branch, held at Nkwelle Ezunaka, Local Government Area of Oyi from Anambra State.
The theme for the week was “The Impact of Technology on the Practice of Law and the Delivery of Justice in the 21st Century”.
Professor Oguguo Ikpeze of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Faculty of Law, Awka, who delivered the keynote, said the world is moving forward and legal practice cannot afford to be left behind.
Ikpeze, a life counselor, said that although the legal profession is considered mundane, known to be traditional and conservative, which must be preserved to maintain professionalism, prestige and ethics, said it must be adapted to change.
She said the topic of discussion was relevant, noting that those who do not wish to move on to the application of information technology in their legal practice will lose their relevance in this technology-driven world.
“The impact of technology on the practice of law and the delivery of justice in the 21st century can never be overstated. Technology has come to stay and it has permeated all spheres of life.
“Technology has made life easy, worth living and a global village. It has also made legal practice easier and justice faster and more transparent,” she said.
For his part, a professor of law and applied jurisprudence, Reverend Father Emeka Oraegbunam, said the world is changing and everything is being done online, including banking which involves money.
Oraegbunam said that ICTs have become indispensable in legal practice and the delivery of justice as they will reduce delays, improve efficiency, protect the health of magistrates, improve access to justice and build confidence for all. parts.
He recommended minimum infrastructure, training and education for effective adoption of ICT-enabled practice, while advising that the older generation of the bar and bench should make conscious efforts to adapt and become part of the revolution.
Dr Mike Anyadiegwu, a Magistrate, said it was important for the courts to be modernized and made technologically capable, adding that facilities were not available in all courts.
Anyadiegwu said the virtual hearing will solve the problem of suspects not appearing in court due to insecurity and COVID-19 and should be encouraged and embraced.
“In my experience, it is better to embrace technology because the legal profession being a conservative profession is gradually moving towards technology and we cannot be left behind.
“In order to expedite criminal trials and justice we need to embrace technology, this is what is achieved in Europe and America and this is the standard practice available today.
“The system should encourage the ICT database for court proceedings, we cannot continue to do everything manually,” he said.
In his welcome address, NBA Otuocha Branch President Mr. Anthony Okafor said the program was a unique opportunity to discuss, assess and propose solutions to the myriad of issues that beset the profession and the effective delivery of justice.
He commended Governor Chukwuma Soludo for his progress in managing the affairs of the state so far and called on him to expedite the ongoing renovation works at the State High Court premises in Otuocha, to facilitate the dispensation of justice.
A Port Harcourt-based lawyer and artist, Emperor Nnaoma Esq, noted that the judiciary needs to make necessary adjustments and join the ICT world.
Nnaoma, who corroborated the position of his colleagues from Anambra, said that the judicial system will do a lot, when adopting the ICT system.
He said the electronic affidavit as used in Rivers State has improved the system to some extent, saying judges will work in a relaxed atmosphere if the courts are fully digitized.
By: King Onunwor