My Lord! You have done well: Ehiwe tells Outgoing Lagos Chief Judge, Hon Justice Opeyemi Oke

When you see a Judge sitting in a court, you are actually looking at the result of over 1000 years of legal evolution. The evolution and development of the legal system continues with every passing day as jurists through their judgements and policies shape our jurisprudence and polity.

The seeds of the modern justice system were down by King Henry II (1154-1189) who established a jury of 12 local knights to settle disputes over the ownership of land ( a subject matter of dispute still very common in courts today).

When Henry II came to the throne, there were just 18 judges in the country-compared to more than 30,000 today.

That said, My Lord, the Honourable Justice Opeyemi Oke who emerged as the 16th Chief Judge of Lagos State in September 2017 will be bowing out of office on Thursday 6th June 2019 after attaining the Statutory retirement age. She would be succeeded by my Lord, the Honourable Justice Kazeem Alogba who is the next most senior Judge in the State judiciary.

Reviewing the two year tenure, one can conveniently say that, just like Henry II, my Lord has done so much to set the State Judiciary on an enviable path of growth. So many reforms were put in place within a remarkably short tenure. One remarkable feat achieved by my Lord is the introduction of the Lagos State High Court (Civil Procedure) rules, 2019 which has, amongst other things, curbed the incidences of scheming delays by litigants and counsel.

Also, the establishment of the Small Claims Court is another milestone, too good to be true. With this court in place, the ease of doing business mantra being sung by the Federal and State Government has received a boost.

My Lord also introduced the Restorative Justice System (RJS), Sentencing Guidelines for Judges and Magistrates, as well as seeing to the general infrastructural rejuvenation of the courts.

Just as the journey for the growth of our modern legal system began with Henry II, the baton has ever since being passed from one generation to the other, as the Chief Judge bows out, there is indeed more to come for the Lagos State Judiciary.

Ehiwe O. Samuel is a Lagos based lawyer- 08138354796,

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