The Lagos State Government has headed to the Supreme Court to test the Constitutionality of Virtual Court Hearings.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Lagos wants the apex court to determine “whether the use of technology by remote hearings of any kind, whether by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Skype or any other audio visual or video-conference platform by the Lagos State High Court or any other Courts in Nigeria in aid of hearing and determination of cases is constitutional”.
The Plaintiff also wants the Supreme Court to determine “whether the National Assembly, can usurp the powers of the Chief Judge of Lagos State under Section 274 of the Constitution by commencing the process for the amendment of Section 36(3) and (4) of the Constitution to include virtual or remote hearing.
The state argues that “the extant provisions in the Constitution, especially Sections 36 (3) and (4) are adequate to accommodate virtual or remote hearings of any kind, as provided for in the Practice Directions issued by the Chief Judge of Lagos State dated 4th and 15th May 2020”.
The state adds that“the amendment process at the national assembly is threatening to disrupt the smooth running of the judiciary in Lagos and the administration of justice on account of the uncertainty being created, because this would mean that every virtual hearing conducted prior to the amendment was unconstitutional.
No date has been fixed yet for hearing