It has been said that one of the reasons of declining standards in our administration of Justice is the absence of senior lawyers including Senior Advocates in our magistrate courts.

When did this trend start. Why would a lawyer feel that HE IS TO BIG TO APPEAR BEFORE MAGISTRATE COURTS?

Is it not law that is argued there?

Are disputes not resolved there?

Are people’s liberty not determined in these courts?

Are lives not affected there?

The absence of senior lawyers has led to the following problems:

  1. The law is rarely developed from the grassroots
  2. The younger lawyers are not well groomed because you will hardly find senior lawyers there to put them through
  3. The magistrates also loose because they are denied the professional arguments and advocacy skills the older lawyers are good at
  4. The users of the courts are left at a level that doesn’t encourage the growth of the legal profession, ethics and professionalism.

I find it interesting when senior lawyers complain about the low level of professionalism at the magistrate court. You would think this problem will motivate them into going in there and showing us how to behave in court but no no no…. They would rather stay out.

I was impressed when I read about the attorney general of Lagos State attending to cases in the magistrate court on behalf of the Lagos state government. I am also impressed when I see other senior lawyers and some SANs enter a magistrate court. Perhaps some of them don’t go to magistrate courts because they have no way of telling if they are senior advocates or benchers at that level as you are not allowed to be robbed? IF THATS THE CASE THEN I AM DISAPPOINTED TO SAY THE LEAST.

Over 60% of litigation takes place at the magistrate courts. There is hardly any lawyer that will not have an experience in these courts.

I challenge senior lawyers and especially SANs to return to the magistrate courts to help build a stronger judicial system.

My challenge to senior lawyers is not just a write up, it is a call in this time of our NBA where we need leaders who WALK THE TALK.

Bayo Akinlade Esq
NBA Ikorodu Branch

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