Anambra NBA Branches Reject new High Court Rules, ask CJ to suspend it [see Press Statement]

The committee of Chairmen and Secretaries of Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Anambra State has rejected the New High Court Rules of Anambra State 2019 and Anambra State Magistrate’s Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019.

In a Press Release signed by all the  Chairmen of the Branches of NBA, Anambra State, the committee pointed out that the amendment was unfortunately very hasty and blamed the Former Cj, N.C. Umeadi Rtd for the injustice. The committee  noted that instead of improving justice delivery and speedy dispensation of justice, the new Rules ended up constituting a terrible clog in the wheel of justice delivery and more.

The committee called on Governor Willie Obiano to prevail on the acting CJ to forthwith suspend further application of the new Court rules pending when the stakeholders will come out with a considered Rules of courts.

Below is a copy of the Press Statement made available to BarristerNG

PRESS RELEASE BY THE COMMITTEE OF
CHAIRMEN OF THE BRANCHES OF NIGERIAN BAR
ASSOCIATION, ANAMBRA STATE ON BEHALF OF
MEMBERS OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, ANAMBRA STATE ON THE 22ND MAY, 2019

The immediate out gone Chief Judge of Anambra state, Hon Justice Peter N.C. Umeadi Rtd. towards the twilight of his tenure as the Chief Judge of Anambra state commenced the amendment of Anambra state High Court Rules of Anambra state 2006 and Anambra state Magistrate’s Court Civil Procedure Rules 1991.

Expectedly, amendment of existing laws or Rules of courts ought to be to improve on justice delivery and enhance the speedy dispensation of justice.

Ironically and unfortunately the amendments introduced by the out gone Chief Judge of Anambra state rather than enhancing justice delivery has now constituted a terrible clog in the wheel of justice delivery in so many ways.

For instance, Order 4 of the new High Court Rules for the first time introduced case evaluation practice into the Rules preparatory for Alternative Dispute Resolution. This Order, rather than enhancing the speedy dispensation of justice may likely constitute some reasons for delays in speedy hearing and determination of matters in our court. By Order 4 (3) of the Rules, the DCR evaluation is empowered to hear applications as set out under Order 4(3) and decisions taken by the said DCR is appealable to the court within 14 days. This is contained in Order 4(5) 1 of the Rules. This, definitely must delay the speedy trial of matters as parties are likely to waste the 45 days mapped out for pretrial conferences without achieving anything. The provisions of Order 4 of the Rules are so complicated and conflicting such that they need to be reconsidered to make some amendments which can enhance justice delivery.

 

The schedules of filing fees in our courts are increased by over 1000%, by the new Rules. It is believed that money should be paid for filing some processes in our courts to balance some costs but when filing fees are hiked that common man in the street cannot afford to file ordinary processes in the courts, anarchy is being Invited. This is because where an aggrieved person cannot afford to pay the filing fees of court processes to ventilate his anger, the likely effect is that self-help shall he resorted to.

We see it as unreasonable to increase filing fees in court by over 1000%. By our old Rules, hearing notices were not paid for in our courts but by the New Rules, hearing notices in our courts now cost N1,500.00 each. Cost of certification of documents at our courts which hitherto was assessed by folios is now being assessed by pages and each page of certified document now costs N1000.00. One Can imagine certifying, one hundred (100) pages of record of appeal or judgment of Courts. Certification of judgments or rulings of courts which under the previous Rules cost less than N200.00 (Two hundred naira) per Page now cost N1,800.00 (One thousand eight hundred naira) while CTC of judgment now costs N3,500.00 (Three thousand five hundred naira). Certification of record of proceeding of courts which hitherto cost less than N50 per page has now been hiked to N400.00 per page under the new Rules. Notice to quit which cost less than N50.00 before now costs over N1,000.00. Instances of the unjustifiable increase on filing fees abound in the said new court Rules which we cannot completely enumerate here for lack of space.

The new schedules of fees as currently contained in our Rules of court (High Courts and Magistrate Courts) are nothing other than instnunents of injustice advertently or inadvertently meted on the poor masses by the out gone Chief Judge.

The new Rules were not properly discussed by the stakeholders but rather hastened and hurriedly put into use. The new Rules are impracticable, untenable and unacceptable to lawyers in Anambra state and we reject them entirely. We have written and visited the Acting Chief-Judge of Anambra state to register our displeasure.

We passionately pray the Governor of Anambra state Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuodike Global) who we know is judiciary friendly to come to the aid of the masses and prevail on the Acting Chief Judge of Anambra state to forthwith suspend further application of the new court Rules pending when the stakeholders properly brainstorm and come out with a well considered Rules of courts.

 

1.

P.C Ugwuanyi Esq.

Chairman Nnewi Branch

Chairman of Chairmen

2.

O. B Erinne Esq

Chairman, Onitsha Branch

3.

G.U Moneke Esq.

Chairman, Awka Branch

4.

P.A Oseme Esq.

Chairman, Idemili Branch

5.

Dr. C.J Ubanyionwu                                                     Chairman, Aguata Branch

6.

Chief J .N Okongwu

Chairman, Anaocha Branch

7.

C.M Obijagwam Esq.                                                   Chairman, Ihiala Branch

8.

Benson lkedigwe Esq.

Chairman, Otuocha Branch

 

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