Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Friday joined other notables in the legal profession to honour a Judge of the Lagos High Court, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, at her book launch, re-emphasizing the need for continuous training and legal scholarship for members of the Bar and the Bench.
The Governor who spoke at the Main Auditorium of the Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island at the launch of the book titled: “Civil Litigation-A Quick Reference Guide to Substantive Law and Procedure”, added that it was only through legal scholarship that reported cases of conflicting judgments such as those highlighted by the book reviewer, Professor Yemi Osinbajo could be prevented.
According to the Governor, learned persons on the Bar must really reflect and consider in their submissions which objections they should be taking as they cannot lay the blame for instances of conflicting judgments at the door of the judges.
“Continuing education will help us in seeing what our colleagues are doing in other jurisdictions and lawyers resolving cases even before it comes to trial by exchanging documents so that we get away from the days when objections were the hallmark of counsel’s ability to really getting justice done, negotiating claims, settling claims and narrowing trials”, he said.
Governor Fashola stated that in terms of law reforms, Lagos State continues to reform its laws and would be unveiling its new edition of revised Lagos State laws which is already in production during the year for presentation to the public.
While commending the judge for finding the time to write the book despite her busy schedule, the Governor noted that its speaks volume of her dedication to her career, adding that the norm is for Judges and Justices to write books after retirement or as often times it is written for them or on their behalf.
Also speaking, a former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola who chaired the event described the author as one of the most industrious, effective and efficient Judges in Lagos State.
He congratulated the Lagos State Judiciary for having a person like Justice Adefope-Okojie, adding that having read an advanced copy of the book he was enthralled by the degree of work the author put into it.
Justice Ayoola charged the Lagos State Governor to take leadership in establishing a fund for legal scholarship, stressing that the time has come for people to start encouraging legal scholarship in the country.
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayoola Philips who publicly presented the book, congratulated Justice Adefope-Okojie for the good work and urged all fellow Judges to emulate her and write books as a way of giving back to the legal profession.
Also commenting on the author, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, described Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie as one of the leading lights of the Lagos Judiciary whom he is proud to be associated with.
The Head Judge of Lagos State, Hon Justice F.O. Atilade, who also spoke at the event described her as a very down-to-earth, composed and sociable member of the Bench who has also been a calming force in the State’s Judiciary.
While reviewing the book, former Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said it is one that addresses the compelling need for comprehensive, easy to read, secondary literature to assist judges and lawyers to navigate the maze that Nigerian case law is fast becoming.
He added that the structure of the book, especially in terms of choice and sequence of topics, is intuitive while the range of subjects is wide covering both recondite and obscure areas of law that has arisen for determination in courts.
Professor Osinbajo said, “books such as this one in which judicial precedents are recorded, underscore the foundational importance of precedents in the nation’s trial system and jurisprudence as it is vital as the Rule of Law itself, as it assures the certainty of legal outcomes in cases where the facts are substantially identical.”
In her vote of appreciation, the author, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie said she was highly gratified and overwhelmed by the show of love from members of the legal profession, relatives, families and friends.
The event was attended by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaiye, several members of the Bench like Justices of the Court of Appeal, Judges of the Lagos High Court, senior lawyers, siblings and family members of the author.
SIGNED: HAKEEM BELLO
SPECIAL ADVISER ON MEDIA TO H.E