A member of the Affiliation of Attorneys with Incapacity in Nigeria (ALDIN), Festus Okpeh, has urged the courts to offer precedence consideration to attorneys with a incapacity whereas listening to circumstances.
In an interview, Mr Okpeh, the top of the media and publicity committee of ALDIN, mentioned the courts ought to apply the provisions of the Nationwide Incapacity Act 2018 for the advantage of Attorneys with Disabilities (LWDs).
Whereas acknowledging that progress has been made in current instances for coping with Individuals with Disabilities PWDs and LWDS, Mr Okpeh urged that extra needs to be made.
“There’s now the Discrimination In opposition to Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2018 (the Nationwide Incapacity Act), which doesn’t solely criminalise all types of discrimination towards PWDs but in addition seeks to equalise alternatives for all in the usage of scarce assets, be it employment, training or entry to public amenities
“As well as, the newly-established Nigerian Bar Affiliation-Attorneys with Disabilities Discussion board (NBA-LWDF) ensures that the welfare and rights of attorneys with incapacity are prioritised and mainstreamed inside the programmes of the bar.
“Nevertheless, I wish to see a extra sympathetic adjudication of justice by our courts; the courts needs to be amenable to making sure equality and guaranteeing equal entry to justice for all.
“The judiciary needs to be extra accessible each bodily and in any other case for attorneys with incapacity,” he mentioned.
He suggested that the courtroom ought to see the usage of know-how not as an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic however as a necessity to equalise entry to courtroom and justice for LWDs.
“Assistive units should not mere appendages to PWDs and LWDs however part of them, with out which their constitutionally-guaranteed proper to entry to courtroom/justice can be undermined,” he added.
Mr Okpeh mentioned it was flawed for a younger lawyer with a incapacity, who was seated on the bar at 9:00 a.m. for a courtroom session, to attend for hours for the courtroom to exhaust different circumstances within the trigger listing.
“Part 8(4) of the Authorized Practitioners’ Act (LPA), 2004, within the First Schedule, supplies for the desk of priority. That is towards the spirit of the Nationwide Incapacity Act, which supplies that in any queue, PWDs should be given first consideration.
“It’s submitted that the trigger listing is nothing greater than a queue (wait listing) of attorneys ready to be heard by the courtroom, and the courtroom needs to be guided by the overriding provision of Part 26,” he mentioned.
He acknowledged that the courtroom may, by itself, invoke the availability or be inclined to grant an oral utility praying it to invoke the spirit of the availability by a lawyer with a incapacity.
As well as, Mr Okpeh mentioned that below part 6(a) of the structure, the courtroom possessed the powers to prioritise the pursuits of LWDs, having recourse to equality, fairness, and social justice.