Uphold substantive justice in settling disputes, NJI boss tells judges

Uphold substantive justice in settling disputes, NJI boss tells judges

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The Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Rosaline Bozimo, has told judges serving in different parts of country that the surest way to engender justice and peace in the country is by using their courts to uphold the rule of substantive justice in settling disputes that come before them.
Bozimo spoke in Abuja while delivering her welcome address at the opening ceremony of the biennial All Nigerian Judges Conference of the Lower Courts, which held at the Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium of the National Judicial Institute.
The NJI administrator said that apart from the fact that judicial history had shown that substantial justice is the way to go because it delivers real justice to the people, the society, which the judiciary serves, celebrates substantial justice over and above technical justice.
She advised participants at the conference to try as much as possible to eschew the use of technical justice in settling disputes in their courts, saying it provoked conflict and sometimes violence in the polity.
Justice Bozimo said that the theme for the 2016 conference, “The lower courts as veritable instruments for justice and peace in a democratic society,” was deliberately tailored towards enlightening and promoting efficient justice delivery in the country.
According to her, “In the 16 years of democratic rule in this our dear country, it can be said that the Nigerian judiciary has witnessed both its low and high moments. But in all, the judiciary has always come out stronger.
“The developments in the judiciary have shown that it would rather uphold the rule of substantial justice rather than technicalities of law.
“It is important to note that upholding the rule of substantial justice is actually recourse to peace and the decisions of courts, when based on substantial justice rather than technicalities of law, rarely provoke conflict or violence and is mostly celebrated by the society.
“By doing so, the democratic tenets that will ensure sustainable democracy are upheld for a better tomorrow.”
She added that the judges of the lower courts were very strategic in maintaining justice and peace in any democratic society, because a vast majority of cases sprout from their courts and are concluded there, thereby making them significant arbiters in a democratic society.
Justice Bozimo, who reminded the judges of the importance of the on-going conference, said they must take advantage of it to improve their competence. Specifically, she said the Conference of All Nigeria Judges of Lower Courts is a biennial meeting organised by the NJI pursuant to its mandate of continuing education for all categories of judicial officers and their support staff.
She said the conference remained an avenue for updating their skills and knowledge to further improve their competence and performance expected of them in the discharge of their statutory functions .
“It also has the refreshing effect of exposing you to recent developments in law, practice and procedure in courts as well as contemporary legal issues.
“It is a good opportunity for participants to evaluate common challenges in justice administration and generate ideas on ways to ameliorate these challenges,” Bozimo added.
The participants took Bozimo’s counsel with seriousness as they bombarded the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, with questions after the first paper was presented.

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