The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade has advocated for the appointment of more judges for the state judiciary to reduce the workload on the present judges.
She made the request in an address delivered at the Bar and Bench Forum held at the Foyer, Lagos High Court, Igbosere.
She said this has become necessary because the state judiciary has witnessed increase in number of cases and as such needs more hands to handle such cases.
“I want to take this opportunity to renew the call for the appointment of more judges in Lagos state due to the litigious nature of citizens of Lagos State, the high number of cases filed and herd in the state and the congestion of courts,” she said.
She stated that state judiciary has remained focused in its commitments and drive for excellence fuelled by their vision of a functional and most efficient justice administration.
She urged lawyers to always prepare for their cases ‘meticulously to ensure that the wheels of justice do not grind to a halt, adding that since the last legal year , the state judiciary has witnessed improvements and achievements such as effective service delivery, simplification of the probate registry, implementation of judiciary autonomy, the Fast Track system, Lagos Multi-Dor Court House, decongestion of prison, capacity building of judicial officers as well as beautification of the court premises.
She stressed that there is need for strong synergy between the bar and the bench, which must be nurtured for them to achieve the same goal and to ensure effective justice administration.
“The effective administration of justice requires a strong virile Bar and a staring virile Bench. It is a symbiotic relationship and if nurtured, developed and protected will lead to the strengthening of our justice system with the ultimate goal of quick and effective dispensation of justice.
It is important to recognise that we need each other and the more we develop a good harmonious working relationship, the more effective we will be at delivering justice to our clients and the general public at large,” she said.
Justice Atilade urged for an urgent review of the Lunacy Act of 1958 to bring it at par with developments around the world and meet international standards.
Although new laws such as the Mental Health Bill, 20013 and 2009 coupled with the Nigerian Mental Health Bill of 2013 are been used to replace the Lunacy Act, she contended that the new laws remained grossly inadequate and hopeless to deal with the situation in Nigeria.
According to her, authority should come up with solutions and put in place necessary structures to address stigmatization of persons with mental illness.