I left my house 5.30am this morning and arrived High Court premises at Igbosere at about 7.30am. It is is my regular practice to arrive court at least an hour before 9am. I have asked my client to arrive court before 8.30am which he, like me, had to wade through this terrible Lagos traffic to make it to court at the appointed time.
Registrar finally arrives after 9am and announces *”the court is not sitting, please listen for your matters for date”.*
To leave home at 5.30am I had to wake up 4am. Between 5.30 and 7.30/7.50am I am in Lagos traffic burning fuel with stress building up as to why I must be made to go through this stress. The same goes for the litigant who must leave early and wade through traffic to make it to court.
Had the court considered the challenge and wasted manhours and resources it takes to be on Lagos roads, it would have done the simple task of sending messages to parties if it will not sit for any reason.
While counsel are required to put their functional email address and phone number, on each processes to be file, this requirement is for a reason but it appears that the court that made it a requirement is not keen at making it an important tool for effective dispensation of justice.
Last week I had a matter at Federal High Court Lagos Division and we had to wait for Registrar till after 9 for a court that normally sits 9 on the dot. On arrival the Registrar announced that the court will not be sitting. On enquiry as to why no message was sent like the last time the Registrar responded that the last messages sent were sent from his pocket and that when they made a proposal to the CR for funds for such messages it was turned down, hence he can’t continue funding it from his pocket.
Just last Thursday a had a matter for trial before a judge in TBS Annex. Arriving court, when it was 9am Registrar started giving dates that the court is not sitting. When counsel present demanded for explanation as to why message was not and the Registrar responded that counsel and litigants should always call a day before the court day to find out if court will be sitting or not.
Can the Bar take this up with the Bench and insist that courtesy be accorded lawyers and litigants in this regards so the court can be taken seriously.
This practice is not rocket science, at least National Industrial Court carries it out effortlessly, why not the State High Courts and Federal High Courts?