Judicial Reforms Conference, Abuja 7th – 9th July 2014

The Judicial Reforms Conference, Abuja organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (Judicial Committee), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with funding from the European Union and Access to justice (A2justice) supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in collaboration with the Performance Evaluation Committee of the NJC held from 7th – 9th July 2014 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Conference began on Monday the 7th of July 2014. There were welcome remarks from
Mariam Sisoko (Representative of UNODC);
Joseph Otteh (Chairperson Planning Committee);
Okey Wali, SAN (President Nigerian Bar Association);

There were Goodwill Messages from Representative of OSIWA;
Senator Umar Dahiru (Chairman Senate Committee on Judicial Human Right & Legal Matters);
Hon. Ben: Lar, (Chairman House of Representative Committee on Human Right);
Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN (Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)

The keynote address was delivered by Hon. Justice Mogoeng Thomas Reetsang Mogoeng (Chief Justice of South Africa).
The Conference was declared open by the Hon. Justice Mariam Mukhtar (GCON) Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Papers presented during the conference:

1. Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye - Judicial Performance Evaluation: Has Judicial Performance Improved with Performance Assessments.
The paper considered the judicial performance of judicial officers under the existing judicial performance evaluation system. Click here to read more

2. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN - Towards a More Transparent And Merit‐Based Judicial Recruitment System In States Judicial Service Commissions.
The paper considered a more transparent and merit based judicial recruitment system for judicial service commissions. Click here to read more

3. Chief Kunle Uthman (Representative of the Chief Judge of Lagos State) - The Reality And The Myth How Independent Are The Judicial Service Commissions When Recruiting For Judicial Vacancies.
The paper discussed the reality and myth on how independent the judicial service commissions
are when recruiting for judicial vacancies. Click here to read more

4. Prof. Dakas CJ Dakas, Ph.D, SAN - Modern Approaches to Judicial Appointments in the Commonwealth
The Nigerian judiciary has, over the years, been the cynosure of all eyes. Recent disconcerting events in the polity have raised considerable concerns about the capacity and competence of the judiciary to discharge its mandate in a manner that inspires confidence in the citizenry. Under the watch of the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, commendable efforts are being made to address several of the challenges that the Nigerian judiciary grapples with. However, the process of judicial appointments remains a major challenge. Owing in part to the reticence of the appointing authorities to open up the judicial space and the in-breeding that typically characterize judicial appointments in Nigeria, the process falls short of expectations. Drawing insights from modern approaches to judicial appointments in the Commonwealth, the paper charts an agenda for action consistent with the imperative need to engender openness, access, competition and inclusiveness in judicial appointments in Nigeria. Click here to read more

5. Adesina Ogunlana Esq. - Judicial Performance Evaluation: A Civil Society Appraisal Of The Adequacy Of Current Procedures
The paper appraised the current procedures for appointment of judges in Nigeria. Click here to read more

6. Jeff Apperson - Judicial Performance Evaluation: Perspectives From The U.S
The paper discussed extensively the systems of judicial performance evaluation in the United States of America. Click here to read more

7. Dr. Gar Yen Ng - Judicial Performance Evaluation: Perspectives from Europe
This paper will first describe the international norms that guide practices in European justice systems (including the English). I will also describe the background of performance evaluation and how it serves to both protect judicial independence as well as hold judges to account. This paper will then compare various European performance evaluation systems and compare their advantages and disadvantages before going on to see how this may help judicial reforms in Nigeria. Click here to read more

8. Danladi Plang and Tolu Abari – Judicial Performance Management: Some Promising State Models
The burden of Performance Management in Public Sector institutions is such that rests with the full weight of the tens of millions of citizens and residents that Public Institutions are set up to serve. This is especially so because, in the absence of working Accountability and Monitoring structures, practices come to replace policy and norms become normalcy.
Meanwhile, given the correlation between the effectiveness of the Judiciary and the stability of any society, ensuring that all members of the Judiciary are performance-managed for optimum effectiveness becomes even more of an imperative.
How this can be done in a manner that is inclusive and thus ownership-engendering will, therefore, be the thrust of this discourse; and we shall also be telling few stories of places where the reform has been done. Click here to read more

9. Ope Olugasa - Using Information Technology To Effectively Run Judicial Performance Evaluation Process.
The presentation introduced the highly advanced but intuitive Case/Court Management Software with Judicial Reporting and Performance Evaluation Solution (JuRePES) which was developed and designed by the Law Pavilion. Click here to read more

At the end of the conference, a comminique was adopted by the participant.