COVID-19: Lawyers must be equipped to handle the impending tsunami of cases – Prof Olawuyi

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As the world gets more and more upward so new innovations and ideas evolve and we all have to adopt it and utilize it for the benefit of every one of us.

The Ekiti State judiciary is also taking a lead to adopt the use of technology and digitalization in executing judicial activities.

Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi the Deputy Vice-chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP) of Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, called on governments at all levels to ensure that adequate support is granted to the judiciary, lawyers and all educational institutions because of the impending “Tsunami of disputes and gridlock” caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Professor, who is a highly regarded professor of environmental law and he is the Vice-Chair of the International Law Association (ILA) worldwide, made these remarks during an online workshop which held on Friday, and was organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (Ikere Branch), in partnership with the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice, as well as ILA.

The workshop with the Theme “Legal Practice Post COVID-19: Prospects, Challenges and The Way Forward”. The workshop featured the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Ekiti State, Mr. Wale Fapounda, as well Professor Yinka Omorogbe who also an Attorney General and the Commissioner of justice of Edo State, as the panelists.

Mrs. Oludayo Olorunfemi the Chairman of the Branch chaired the section.

Professor Olawuyi, in his remarks noted, “History tells us that in times of global catastrophe and economic stress, disputes and litigation will significantly increase, ranging from employment cases, to breach of contract, bankruptcy, insurance claims, and supply chain disruptions amongst others. In addition, the judiciary, as well as lawyers, should be provided with adequate support to enable them to handle effectively impending tsunami of disputes, and not be overwhelmed. And in addition to technological, digitalization, financial and infrastructural needs, a number of disaster response mechanisms should be put in place at all levels to avoid institutional gridlock”.

Mr. Olawuyi also stretched on the need to prepare law students and called for universities to bring up tailored programs in order to train and prepare law students for the emerging legal order of post-COVID-19. As discussions on the ongoing initiatives of the Ekiti State Government in this area, Mr. Wale Fapounda the Attorney General of the state encouraged all lawyers to embrace technological innovation opportunities provided by the emergence of this pandemic.

And according to him, the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice will continue to work with all the NBA branches in the state to assess areas of intervention and support. Professor Yinka Omorogbe the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice Edo State, in her remarks, noted that the pandemic is already changing the legal profession and justice delivery in the Country.

She also said that legal practice post-COVID-19 will have to be innovative, technology-driven, and receptive to fresh ideas.

In closing the session, Mrs. Oludayo Olurunfemi, the Chairman appreciated the exceptional leadership roles of the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice in providing ongoing support, training, and motivation for young lawyers in the state.

This is a highly commended effort and quite an innovative approach towards redirecting and accepting a new reality in the judicial sector of the country.

By Ayooluwa Joshua

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