Justice administration in Nigeria would become more efficient when stakeholders including judges, judicial workers, lawyers, and clients fully embrace automation.
Experts said this at the Public Lecture and Gala in honour of Folabi Kuti on his conferment with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), hosted by Perchstone & Graeys on Friday. Technology, they said, would reduce the length of time it takes to secure judgments and improve clients’ satisfaction in the justice system.
The judiciary would not be the only sector that technology disrupts. Across every sector, technology is enabling different innovations and helping entrepreneurs fill gaps where they are needed.
The experts noted that job losses are imminent for judicial employees, including lawyers and judges that fail to innovate and learn how to use new technologies.
“Robots will take the jobs of a teacher, lawyer, or doctor who is not technologically inclined,” said Ayo Adegboye, CEO, Arravo.
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Technology is already beginning to encroach on justice administration. For example, during the COVID019 lockdown, judges in Nigeria started to conduct hearing virtually leveraging video conferencing channels such as Zoom.
Tolu Aderemi, Partner Perchstone & Graeys, noted the use of technology in arbitration matters. Arbitrators have been using video conferencing and other technology tools to conduct arbitration ensuring that the process is expedited.
“What we are trouble about is how it affects the client. What is the cost of arbitrating disputes with new technologies?” Aderemi said.
There is also the concern that artificial intelligence might get so good in terms of the ability to predict outcomes of judgments that clients would be compelled to make it the first resort instead of lawyers.
Adeyinka Aroyewun, Director, Lagos Multi-Door Court House (LMDC) noted that technology has so impacted the judicial system that dispute resolution is becoming sector-specific. There are dispute resolution mechanisms focused on agriculture, maritime, insurance, etc.
Folabi Kuti said it was important that the discussion incorporated judges who in many cases have the final judgment on the outcome of a dispute.
“We can no longer afford to shut our eyes to the gleefully disruptive forces of technology intervening, happily, to render speedy and ready access to judgments of the court,” Kuti said. “One can only imagine the immortal spirit of the lat Gani, beaming with paternal fondness at a justice sector, which he might find disturbingly familiar, only in unfamiliarity.”