Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has advocated for virtual court hearing for non-contentious cases as well as the establishment of designated courts with mandate to prioritized commercial cases.
Speaking during the swearing-in of the new Chief Judge for Ekiti State, Justice John Adeyeye, the Governor also canvassed the need for the State to introduce electronic filing system, especially for commercial cases and create alternative dispute resolution framework that would include incentives for mediation.
The Governor also urged the judiciary on urgent need to strengthen small claims court which he considered a simplified procedure to resolve small claims.
“No less desirable is an alternative dispute resolution framework. One that could possibly include incentives for mediation. I have also had cause to ask the Attorney- General whether Ekiti State is not at the point when we should consider virtual court hearings especially for non-contentious matters.
“I have also wondered whether the state judiciary is able to introduce electronic filing system at least for commercial cases. In addition given concerns about speed in dealing with commercial cases, I have asked whether it is not possible to identify a specific court as a commercial court with a mandate to prioritise commercial matters without prejudice to other matters that may be heard in the same court.“
Speaking further, the Governor stressed the need for the State to convene a Justice, crime prevention and security cluster to comprise the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Correctional Services, Police, Civil defence and AMOTEKUN. According to him, “The purpose of the cluster will essentially reduce crime by improving the efficiency of our criminal justice system”.
“This proposed cluster is about strengthening coordination and better communication among different agencies within the cluster. This coordination gives government a framework for achieving its vision on building safer communities.
“Like other states in the Federation, Ekiti State is witnessing its own fair share of security challenges. It seems to me that we are now at that point where the judiciary needs to be part of on-going interventions in response to these security concerns.
“The purpose of the cluster will essentially be to reduce crime by improving the efficiency of our criminal justice system. This proposed cluster is about strengthening coordination and better communication among different agencies within the cluster. This coordination gives government a framework for achieving its vision on building safer communities.
Dr Fayemi also urged the Judicial Service Commission to consider the desirability of ensuring that qualified young lawyers especially women were given opportunity to be appointed to the bench, adding that the state judiciary should make efforts to target suitable candidates under the age of 40.
“No less important is the need for female judges in the high court of Ekiti State. My administration firmly believes in the desirability of enabling appropriate environment for the appointment of women to decision-making positions.
” Our current situation cannot be said to be satisfactory and I hope Your Lordship will agree with me on the need to ensure that qualified female lawyers are given the space to aspire to the bench of the high court of Ekiti State.’He said .
Earlier, Justice Adeyeye, in his address had promised to key into the concept of virtual court hearing and ensure that delay in dispensation of justice becomes a thing of the past.