The President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has revealed that the court disposed of 5,669 cases and 10,798 motions in the out-going legal year.
Similarly, despite a 51 per cent increase in the number of motions filed during the period under review, she said that the court witnessed a 48 per cent increase in the number of motions disposed of by the panels over the course as of November ending this year.
The Appeal Court President spoke in Abuja at the 2nd Working Retreat, annual conference of the court and launch of its Rules 2021.
At the conference attended by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Justice Dongban-Mensem revealed that as a result of the devastating effect of COVID-19, a total of 528 judgments were delivered via the Zoom Online platform during the course of the 2020-2021 legal year.
She further explained that 10 hearings were also held by panels of the Court using the forum while in the last two months, a further 40 judgments have been delivered via the Zoom Platform.
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“The administration of justice remains the primary focus of the Court. As I stated during the Legal Year, the Learned Justices of the Court, without exception, have worked incredibly to improve justice delivery this year.
“As a result, we have had a 26.47% reduction in the total volume of cases pending in our divisions, as compared with last year.
“Similarly, despite a 51% increase in the number of motions filed, we witnessed a 48% increase in the number of motions disposed of by the panels over the course of this Legal Year.
“In the face of incredible uncertainty such as the world has and is still experiencing, I am assured that the Court will rise to each and every challenge that will face us whether jurisprudentially or otherwise.
“We are committed to deepening the expeditious dispensation of justice and are not afraid to think out of the box in order to achieve it.
“This informs our pivot towards a technology-driven system of justice, following the precedent set by the Hon., the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the technological innovations introduced to the Supreme Court.
“That of course requires that we amend our Rules of Practice in order to properly cater for this digital revolution.
“The 2021-2022 Legal Year has begun with much greater confidence as we have had an infusion of 18 new Justices to the Court of Appeal in the course of the year 2021.
“I remarked at the time of their appointment that they were joining a Family Court, which is close-knit and fraternal. I can confidently state that my Brother Justices when sitting as a Panel, are a well-oiled machine.
“It was therefore important for our new learned Brother Justices to be properly oriented so as not to disrupt the course of the dispensation of justice.
“Having cut their teeth in the crucible of Special Panels and their various Stations, I am glad to state that our new Justices have proven their mettle and must be highly commended for their work.
“It is certainly notable that my Lords the new Justices have been sitting in Special Panels with their Learned Brother Justices of the Abuja Division since yesterday, 6th December 2021.
“In that time, their Lordships have had to hear One Hundred and Ninety-Eight (198) motions and Appeals, which is commendable indeed given that they sat in only six panels hearing an average of 33 matters per panel.
“In addition, my other learned Brother Justices have, as usual, risen to the challenge of administering justice with an uncommon patriotism and great sacrifice even to their health. I cannot thank your Lordships enough for your support.”
The CJN later launched the new Practice Direction of the court with a charge on the Justice not to rest on their oars and to continue to dispense justice without fear or favour.