It will become mandatory for judges and staff of Nigerian courts to communicate court documents with lawyers by electronic mail from July 16, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has announced.
Mr. Onnoghen made the announcement on Friday while speaking at the launch of the newly Retrofitted Court and Legal Email System which took place at the Supreme Court.
He said the email system, which is a unique feature of the day’s event, will replace manual forms of communication between judges, court staff and lawyers.
“I will like to implore all judges and lawyers to join us on this quest for excellence by subscribing to, and acquiring the legal email, as manual forms of communication within the Nigerian Courts will soon be phased out.
“Henceforth lawyers who have acquired the Legal Email can now communicate electronically with the courts and with each other. However, by July 16, it becomes mandatory.
“The Supreme Court will only serve processes by electronic means. (Legal mail). Hence all new filings as from July 16 must bear counsel’s legal email address.
“To ensure compliance, it is also imperative that all other heads of Courts aquire the Legal email addresses for their Courts from the JITPO Committee, especially for the Litigation Department staff.
“All courts are also encouraged to start using the email for serving lawyers. In addition, communication between the various Judicial bodies will soon be through the official email system only, thereby harnessing the benefits of the system in terms of confidentiality, integrity and availability,” Mr. Onnoghen said.
Mr. Onnoghen said the new email system will work better when the bar and the bench work together to improve it.
“From the inception of the email project, the committee of which the President, Nigerian Bar Association is a member, worked in tandem with the bar to ensure the successful completion of what we are witnessing today.
“I trust that the bar association will now drive the adoption so that the system will be fully operational within the period hereby stipulated.
“The quick adoption of the system will enable us move forward to improve and implement the other components that depend upon it. We must all take ownership of this project. It must not fail,” Mr. Onnoghen said.
The CJN noted that Nigeria had already developed and deployed the Nigerian Case Management System (NCMS) software, adding that the NCMS is the backbone of court automation project in the country.