Speaking on the theme of the Law Week (Ile Ife Branch), Integrity of the Bar and Bench as a Panacea of Socio-economic Development in Nigeria, Paul Usoro SAN defined the operative words ‘integrity’ and ‘panacea’ and stated some human and institutional factors that denigrate the integrity of the Bar.
According to the Learned Silk, the human factors include personal integrity and indiscipline of Bar members, especially as it relates to the way they practice; while the institutional factors include judiciary’s financial dependence on the executive, government’s undue interference and subversion of the rule of law, weak regulatory framework, poor educational system, and poor remuneration of judicial officers.
Paul Usoro, SAN speaking on the theme of the Law Week – Integrity of the Bar and Bench as a Panacea of Socio-economic Development in Nigeria
Paul Usoro SAN also listed some consequences the lack of integrity of the Bar & Bench can cause, such as delayed justice; civil unrest and disturbances; subversion of the cause of justice by the government such as the recent arrest of judicial officers; loss of confidence in the judiciary and the justice administration system; and capital flight as investors prefer climes where they are likely to face less challenges.
According to the Learned Silk, all of these problems may not necessarily be the fault of those administering justice as these problems are institutional problems. He shared some insightful thoughts aimed at addressing the integrity deficit in the system as follows:
- Bar members must endeavor to keep their personal integrity intact. For instance, stating the truth in affidavits filed in court and refrain from applying for adjournments on basis of facts that are not true.
- Continuing Legal Education: Lawyers must keep updating themselves so as to be equipped with sound knowledge in the legal profession. It is an integrity issue where a lawyer fails to make quality submissions to the court for whatever reason.
- The Nigerian Bar as the grand promoter of the rule of law needs to raise its voice when the course of justice is being subverted in line with its motto.
- Revamping of existing frameworks which includes (i) procedure for the appointment of judicial officers. Judicial officers are as good as the procedures that bring them in; (ii) Procedure for admission of lawyers to the Bar. We need to bar those who should have no business with the Bar.
- The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will be able to lead the charge by electing competent people who can protect the integrity of the Bar.
The event was graced with the presence of other dignitaries. Prof. S. B Odunsi was the moderator with Prof. Amos Idowu, amongst others as discussants. Other special guests include the Executive governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbosola; Rotimi Akeredolu SAN; Senator Babatunde Owoworare; amongst others.
Paul Usoro, SAN, FCIArb and Chief N. O. Oke, SAN, at the Ife Bar Law Week today, Thursday, 15 February 2018.
Paul Usoro, SAN and Dr Michael Adeleke
Paul Usoro, SAN and Prof S B Odunsi, Dean of Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University.
Paul Usoro, SAN, Olusola Ojutalayo, SAN, Dr. Abiodun Saka Layonu, SAN ( Chairman of the Day), and Mobolaji Ojibara Esq
Paul Usoro, SAN and Prof Ademola Popoola (AKA the Doyen of Ife Law)