Zoom Not Best Technology For Virtual Court Sitting – Osinbajo
Posted: 07/Aug/2020

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday says the teleconferencing application, Zoom, is not the best for holding virtual court proceedings.

The vice-president said though Zoom has its own advantages, it is not completely suitable for virtual court proceedings as a lot of documents and evidence would need to be examined during hearings.

Osinbajo, who delivered a keynote address via Zoom during the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria’s national virtual town hall meeting 2020, advised lawyers in the country to be technology-savvy.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria spoke on the topic, ‘Building The Right Mindset For A Better Nigeria Post Covid-19’, saying a 21st-century lawyer must be interdisciplinary, multi-tasking and digitally strong.

He noted that the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a reduction of human contact while making reference to the Supreme Court, which mid-July, ruled that virtual court sitting was not unconstitutional.

A seven-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, said although the court had not declared it constitutional, the various practice directions issued by the heads of courts permitting their judges to adopt remote hearing in deserving situations “enjoyed the presumption of regularity.”

Osinbajo, who noted that the need to be innovative and explore the opportunities in the pandemic has become pressing, challenged the young lawyers to embrace innovation, saying, “The Supreme Court has recently endorsed virtual court proceedings which I think is a major revolution because it means that there will be plenty of opportunities for the new technologies adapted to the dynamics of the courtroom.

“Today, we can now share documents on Zoom but for courtrooms and practice, you need more nimble technology to tender documents or to cross-examine a witness from a remote location. So, Zoom will not be the best technology for court proceedings although it is being used now, it is not the best technology because sometimes you have a bundle of documents to tender and that may be difficult.

“So, there is room there for innovative technology that will be suitable for using the courtroom. And I know that there are so many ideas that people are coming up with but we also have to think that through.”

On his part, LAWSAN National President, Emmanuel Nwobodo, corroborated Osinbajo’s point, saying the young lawyers “thought it imperative to move beyond lamenting and bleating about the problems to carving out solutions because we believe light shines brighter in darkness and we can still squeeze out greatness for ourselves and our nation even with the problems we face.”
 
Also speaking, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata (SAN), who represented the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the Federal Government was working on the right legislation to end the menace of rape in the country.

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