S’Court declares virtual court sittings constitutional

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has struck out the suits filed by Lagos and Ekiti state governments challenging the validity and constitutionality of Virtual court sittings.

A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour declared that virtual court sittings are constitutional.

Members of the panel dismissed the fear said to be entertained by many judges as to the constitutionality of remote hearings in the country.

They maintained that the Chief Judges of the states that had issued practice direction to provide for virtual sitting when convenient had the duty to enforce the directive.

They made the comments during the hearing of separate suits filed by the Attorneys-General of Lagos and Ekiti states on the adoption of remote hearings by judges in their states.

The panel described the suits of both the Lagos and Ekiti states’ AGs as speculative as the suits did not disclose how virtual proceedings had injured the interest or right of anyone.

The Court said judges across the country should continue to conduct virtual proceedings, where it is comfortable for them, until the National Assembly concludes its ongoing-effort to amend the Constitution to accommodate virtual hearing.

It said for now, it was premature to challenge the constitutionality or otherwise of virtual court proceedings because the National Assembly was still in the process of amending the Constitution or enact a law to that effect.

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