I hate it when I
move heaven and earth to ensure I get to Court early only to find out that the
court will not be sitting or in other words the judge will not be coming. Numerous
times, I have driven in the Lagos traffic for 3 hours just to ensure I get to
court well before 9 am or travelled to another state only to hear the court registrar address counsel and
inform us that the court will not be sitting. It hurts and I remember a counsel
who expressed his displeasure after having come all the way from Abuja to court
in Lagos and be informed that the court will not sit, he had expended money for
travel and even hotel lodging.

If you are in
litigation practice or a litigant, you must have experienced this. There have
been many persons who stay longer in jail, prison or detention just because the
court has not sat to determine their bail applications and they thus have to
stay back in detention for many more weeks awaiting another adjournment date.
Another instance,
is a client who hires a private plane on the insistence of his lawyer to ferry
the firm’s team from Abuja to court in Lagos only for everyone to get to court
and learn the judge will not be coming, how frustrating will that be to the
client and if such client gets judgment in his favour eventually, what will be
the value of such victory to such a client who has expended such expense in the
course of litigating his matter before the court.
Sadly the judiciary
doesn’t seem to care, I have never heard it discussed in symposiums before, neither
has there been any focus on solving this issue, apparently the judges do not
even see it as an issue. Why should a counsel or litigant spend time and money to
get to court only to find out that the court will not sit. Doesn’t this
practice increase the cost of litigation exponentially? The courts have a duty
to ensure a speedy and cost effective dispensation of justice and not to mount unnecessary
pressure and costs on litigants.  
I am using this
medium to urge the courts to save litigants and counsel from the pains and cost
they cause by not giving prior information that the court will not be sitting. And
all they need to do is send a text message to counsel. A text message cost only
four naira and I am sure that a court with a daily budget of 500 naira will
have enough funds to text all counsel on the cause list to inform them that the
court will not be sitting.  I don’t know
if this is too much to ask from the judiciary or maybe they are too busy to
even care.
Adedunmade Onibokun